Warkworth’s annual A&P Show could fold after more than 150 years unless new and younger volunteers can be found to run the event.
That’s the warning from chairman Allan Barber who, along with several other committee members, will retire after next year’s show.
“We’re reaching a watershed. Unless somebody steps up after next year’s show, or preferably before, we won’t have a functioning society,” he says. “I have a genuine fear that something that’s gone on for 153 years will fade away due to lack of resources and interest.”
As well as Allan stepping down after seven years in the chair, show secretary Penny Webster and treasurer Vanessa Barber will also be retiring from their roles after 2021.
“Every aspect of running the A&P society is tied up in these three people and there’s absolutely no guarantee that any of us will be there beyond 2021.”
There are currently around 10 members on the A&P show committee, but Allan says new blood is needed to fill the vacancies.
“Realistically, there’s nobody on there who would stand up and be chairman. None of the others are at an age or stage or would have an interest in running the whole thing. I’ve tried to get other people involved, but everyone is so busy.”
All A&P committee roles are voluntary, though there is a $10,000 honorarium for show secretary. Allan says the time commitment varies, from regular meetings in the run-up to the March show date to “not much at all” between the July AGM and the end of the year. And he says organisational skills are more important than an agricultural or rural background.
“I liken being chairman to a management job. You’ve got to have management sense and follow management disciplines to do it properly,” he says. “But the key thing is to have someone who wants to put their hand up to be paid secretary, because that’s the person who does all the organising, bookings and communicates with Council for consents and so on.
“Any semi-retired manager could do any of the jobs, any accountant or bookkeeper could be treasurer, and any admin person could be secretary. The question is whether anybody cares enough to want to preserve the tradition.”
Anyone who wishes to know more about any of the roles and what’s involved can call Allan Barber on 027 447 7000 or email Penny Webster at firstname.lastname@example.org