THE arrival of royalty was the icing on the cake of a major agricultural show that delighted the public with a two-day offering for the first time in its history.

Princess Anne and Sophie, Countess of Wessex joined thousands of others for the second day of the Westmorland County Show at Crooklands.

Show bosses were successful, for the most part, in keeping the arrival of the pair a secret, and their presence as they moved up through the showground was marked by smiles from pleasantly surprised onlookers.

The Countess, who is the wife of Prince Edward, was announced at the show as the new patron of the Addington Fund, a UK farming charity that provides housing and disaster relief to farmers.

The charity's chief executive, Bill Young, 60, said: "We've been working on it for a while and it's finally come to fruition.

"The best thing about it is, from the go-ahead, she [the Countess] said she wanted to be a partner, not a figurehead.

"We want somebody who's actually going to bat for us, fight for us."

He said he was 'honoured' and 'privileged' to have the Countess on board.

The Royal pair chatted to numerous stallholders and finished off the day with a visit to the main arena to speak to cattle farmers.

Elsewhere, the second day of the show proved just as successful as the first, with the threatened thunderstorms holding off and the showground remaining largely dry.

Anna Stable, based at Bolton Manor Farm, Little Urswick, near Ulverston, was all smiles, with one of the farm's heifers named junior champion on the day.

"It's the first show we have done in two years," said Mrs Stable, 31.

"It's great to be back.

"We have missed it, definitely, particularly the social aspect.

"We make a lot of friends, showing, from all over the country, and we have not seen a lot of them."

In the poultry tent, a Furness old English game bantam belonging to Tom Medcalf, 50, of Endmoor, was overall champion.

Mr Medcalf said: "We knew it was good but you just don't what's going to happen at the show."

He said it was 'great to be back' after the show's hiatus last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.