John and Maureen Barnes at this year’s Royal Easter Show.Royal Easter Show stalwart John Barnes has received a long service award from the Royal Agricultural Society for 50 years of involvement with the event.
The award was presented to the Bandon Grove man who got involved in shows through the Rural Youth section at Dungog Show.
He is the longest serving member of the Central District exhibit.
His wife Maureen has nearly clocked up as much time, travelling down to Sydney for the past 48 years.
“We love doing it and will continue to do so for as long as we can,” Mrs Barnes said.
“John started exhibiting at Dungog Show when he was 10 so has been exhibiting for over 60 years.”
The couple, who are both 72, start preparing for the Royal nearly 12 months in advance.
“John now grows a lot of the corn and is in charge of the section while I do the pickles, preserves, chutney and sauces,” Mrs Barnes said.
“He is involved in the pre-judging before the produce is used for the design of the Central District display.
“We head down to the show about 10 days prior to the opening, picking up produce for the display on the way.
“Next year the show is three weeks earlier than this year which will make it a bit hard.
“The corn was only just ready this time, so John will have to plant earlier next year.
“Everything is grown according to the dates of the show.
“I make the pickles and chutneys when the produce is ready to go.”
The Central District won first place for their display and were second in the overall competition.
Mrs Barnes took out first place for her preserves, jams and jellies used in the display.
The Central District takes in the area from Macksville and Narrabri in the north to Gosford in the south.
“We just love it . . . and can’t imagine not being involved.”
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