At Clearbox, we offer the team the opportunity to support community events and causes that are close to our hearts. This month, Karen has been busy volunteering for a local agricultural show as a cattle announcer. Yes, really. Want to find out what exactly she got up to and why blondes have more fun? Then put the kettle on and get reading...Background
Can I start by saying that I'm a farmer's daughter? That way the rest of this blog will hopefully sound a little less bizarre to urban readers.As part of Clearbox's charity initiative, I volunteered as broadcaster extraordinaire in the cattle rings of Antrim Agricultural Show, set in the beautiful surroundings of Shane's Castle, Antrim on the banks of Lough Neagh.As one of Northern Ireland's top regional agricultural shows, it is a showcase of all things rural. It's where you'll find farm animals, horses, home baking, floral and horticulture exhibits mixed in with a range of family entertainment including a petting zoo, music, a jiving competition, cookery demonstrations, and dog agility displays.This year, the committee that runs the event, the Antrim Agricultural Society, needed some marketing support. Coming from a farming community, agricultural shows are really important to me so I was keen to get involved with this as part of our charity days.Sponsorship
The Show requires the backing of many sponsors who provide the crucial funds to run the show and offer prize money to attract exhibitors each year, but they knew they needed to refresh the event's offering and its image, to ensure it conveys the key message that it offers a great value family day out for everyone.Top of the wish list was to secure additional sponsorship so we kicked off by securing the fantastic team at Randox Laboratories as the first-ever title sponsor of the event. As leading specialists in equine health, Randox was the perfect sponsor to the show which plays host to a show jumping competition as well as showing rings for the Equestrian Extravaganza.Using Volunteer Days
Some of my extra-curricular activities were easier done during office hours, so I was able to use my volunteer days to help manage a mass photoshoot with the show's sponsors, animals and children, as well as to oversee the development of the Show's website to a fully functional platform supporting booking tickets and entering the 700 classes that were on offer this year.
On the Day
At the Show, we were kept busy escorting Michael Gove MP, the new Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who made a surprise and flying visit to the Show.
Sponsor, Randox, was testing everyone's true body age, handing out healthy smoothies, displaying its Grand National trophy, and offering a virtual reality experience where event-goers could experience riding a race horse just like AP McCoy!Even a spot of rain at the end of the afternoon couldn't dampen people's spirits.The Cattle Zone
As one of the cattle announcers, there is one line that I most look forward to saying over the speakers, and for those not familiar with livestock breeds, let me first advise that a 'Blonde' is a breed of beef cattle. You can just imagine the amused looks I see on the faces of by-standers when the time comes to pipe up and say; 'Calling all Blondes to the ring. All Blondes to the ring, please.'My main job on the day was to keep the exhibiting farmers posted about which class was coming up next, to deliver the sponsor's key messages and to announce which breeders had won each class.A key part of my day in the cattle zone was to give a warm welcome to a prestigious Northern Ireland final that had returned to Antrim this year, the McLarnon Feeds NISA Dairy Cow Championship, where animals who'd qualified at earlier agricultural shows competed in this competition's grand final.The ResultThe numbers are still being crunched but the naked eye could tell that the turn out on the day was definitely up in both competition entries and the public who attended. A great project to be part of and a lovely way to give back to the farming community.If you're a charity or organisation that would like support - marketing, social media or even just an extra pair of hands please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.