One of the most popular sheep shows in the country is being staged this weekend at Masham.

The Wensleydale market town will play host to thousands of people who flock in to see hundreds of sheep on show as well as sheep racing, and many other sheep inspired events.

Over the years organisers have raised more than £158,000 for charity with the two day event being held on Saturday and Sunday, September 24 and 25. It was started more than 30 years ago by founder Susan Cunliffe Lister and a band of volunteers to raise money for farmers in Africa through sheep aid.

It was based on the historic fairs held in the town, Masham has one of the largest and most impressive market squares in England and ran huge sales with farmers and traders coming from miles around for the sales where up to 70,000 sheep would have been sold every year.

Susan Cunliffe Lister said: “We raised £7,950 at that first event and it was decided to make it an annual fair, raising money for local charities. Since then we have raised £158,700 for Yorkshire charities.

“We kept going through the two Foot and Mouth affected years with ‘scarecrow shepherds and sheep’. We used to have a sale of rare breeds on the Sunday but the biosecurity after the foot and mouth outbreak made this too difficult. This led to new activities such as the very popular sheep racing, sheepdog display with the ducks and the Sheep Show, sponsored by Black Sheep Brewery.”

There is also a craft market, the Bishop Blaize Procession, fleece Stalls, Hand Bell Ringers, Morris Dancers, Art Exhibition and Tours of Theakstons and Black Sheep Breweries, as well as a small Children's Fair. The theme for the flower display in St. Mary's Church this year will be ‘Harvest of Water’.

There will also be a display of items made during Lockdown from hand-spun wool.

In 2021 the fair raised £11,300 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance and £1,300 for local charities in Masham.