Country: Standards high for first rural craft prize at Melplash Show (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Country: Standards high for first rural craft prize at Melplash Show
COMPETITION was stiff and the standard high for the first rural craft prize at this year’s Melplash Show.
There were 16 entries covering a wide variety of rural crafts and judges Peter Yeates and Stuart Gay, working to a very complex and detailed point system, managed to separate the winners.
The first six were separated by only one point.
The Guy Memorial Trophy, introduced this year by thatcher Guy Gale’s widow Elizabeth to recognise local craftsmen and women, was won by Peter Thomas, a living wood turner and stick maker from Rampisham.
Second place went to master thatcher Edward Taylor and third to another master thatcher Zach Watts.
Joint fourth were artistic blacksmith Robert Fielding, wheelwright Robert Fielding and potter Tim Hurn.
Mr Thomas, the winner, is a retired farmer who took up woodturning initially as a hobby using locally sourced timber which is either dead, storm-damaged or thinning from hedgerows.
Mr Thomas said: “If I had a mission in life it is to make people aware of the diverse beauty and variety of our natural species without having to import timber, often from a non –sustainable source.”
His workshop and gallery are located in Rampisham, centred around a 15th century thatched cottage.
Guy Gale was a Master Thatcher in Dorset for more than 50 years, chairman of the Dorset Master Thatchers’ Association and an executive on the UK committee.
He took a great pride in his work and could run his hand to other skills such as hurdle making, woodcraft, stone walling, bee skep making and hedging.
He enjoyed sheep shearing by hand which he practised on some of his own flock of Polled Dorsets and Ile de France sheep when farming at Salway Ash over 42 years. Hand sheep clippers are used both in shearing and thatching.
Guy Gale served on the Melplash Agricultural Society executive committee and was at one time chairman of the sheep section. He was always on the field during show week in all weathers assisting in getting everything ready for show day. He died in January 2009.