Popular BBC show The Great British bake off is back, with over seven million of us tuning into the first episode of series three last week.
However, it seems TV shows aren’t turning us into a nation of passive viewers.
Marion Lockhart, who is preparing for her last Glendale Show after heading up the industrial section for almost two decades, says programmes like The Great British Bake-Off and Kirsty Alsop’s Hand Made Britain are actually prompting a resurgence in industrial enterprise.
“These programmes are encouraging people to make their own things, whether in crafts, clothes or baking, which is resulting in more younger people entering the main baking classes and more entries in the handicraft classes,” Marion says.
A stalwart of Glendale Show, Marion has been involved with it for 25 years.
Knowing that young people are the future, Marion made it her business to work closely with Wooler First School when she became secretart of the industrial section in 1995, to ensure the continuity of interest across the generations.
“It’s always a highlight for me to see young children taking part,” Marion says.
Nowshe is handing the baton to the next generation - Jane Cook, Sarah Jones and Julia Tait - who have been shadowing Marion in the run up to her retirement.
Marion began working with the show in 1989, when she became a steward. After six years she moved on and up when she took over as secretary of the industrial section.
The work requires careful organisation and an eye for order, but Marion says it has never been dull. Over the years she has seen the traditional showcase evolve to keep up with modern tastes and technology. “We have changed the classes to meeting the changes to today’s way of life,” she explains. “We now have a bread class made with a bread machine, and as afternoon tea is a treat that most people enjoy, this year there is an afternoon tea competition.
“To reflect the changes in lifestyle and men’s independence, we now have men’s sandwich classes! And in handicrafts, recycling has come to the fore and we have an up-cycled class - an article made of waste material. Class 162 is one of my highlights. It’s The Disaster Class and is always popular and well supported. It’s a chance for people to share their mistakes with others! It’s a bit of fun, and we all have disasters. ”
There have been a number of highlights over the years, but insists the real satisfaction is from others. “I love meeting people,” she explains. “People often think that as secretary you are at the helm, but for me it would not be possible to coordinate such an event without the phenomenal support and help of so many people, including my husband, Robert.”
Michael Walton, president of the Glendale Agricultural Society, admitted Marion would be “a huge miss”.
“We are under no illusion as to the huge amount of hard work and commitment that goes into organising both the horticultural and industrial section,” he said. “Marion has worked tirelessly to ensure that this is always one of the highlights of the show.”