A look back at decades of Border Union Show coverage

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The first mention of a show in Kelso, at what was then called Bridge-end Park, was in 1832, more than 20 years before the birth of The Southern.

The first edition of The Southern was published in 1855, but ever since then coverage of the show in Kelso has been a priority for the paper’s farming section.

At each ‘Kelsae Show’, you will find a reporter and photographer from The Southern on both the Friday and the Saturday.

As well as soaking up the atmosphere to make sure there is plenty of ‘colour’ in the following week’s coverage, results of the various trophy winners are painstakingly noted down once they are posted to the results board outside the secretary’s office.

This building is the hub of the Springwood Park showground. From here, Border Union Agricultural Society secretary Ron Wilson and his team have spent much of their time in the preceding months working towards these two days at the end of July.

And this year’s 200th anniversary of the society and the visit by the special royal bicentennial patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex, means there is even more pressure than normal to ensure everything goes as smoothly as usual.

In recent years, The Southern has had to restrict itself to only publishing the winners of the extensive list of trophies and cups up for grabs.

But for many decades, a reporter spent hours collating not just trophy winners’ names and details, but the first, second and third places in every single class!

And in the modern digital news age, The Southern’s annual show coverage can now be bolstered by video reports, Twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as reports specifically written for our websites.

Ron says the importance of press coverage in the build-up to the show and reports in the days and week afterwards, should not be underestimated. “I visit a quite a few events around the country, many down south, and you’d have to say a considerable number could now be more accurately described as agricultural fairs, given the variety of elements that they consist of.

“But the Border Union Show is still true to its roots and very much an agriculture show – an event still mainly aimed at showing the wider non-farming public what farmers do, and what goes on in the wider countryside,” he told us.

“And to help us show what farmers are doing, the support we get from the press, such as The Southern here in the Borders, is very important.”