A SPECIAL presentation to a journalist who has covered the Cheshire Show for almost half a century was made at the annual meeting of the Cheshire Agricultural Society at Capesthorne Hall.
The recipient was Chronicle veteran Michael Arnold, who first reported on the county show in 1959, the year after he joined the staff of the paper at Chester.
Since then, he has covered virtually every one of the shows, first at Hooton Park and, later, at Eaton Hall, Tatton Park, and, more recently, at Tabley, with a special interest in the central cattle sections.
The show suffered a two year break in the late 70s after sustaining heavy losses at Eaton Hall due to weather and traffic problems.
Mr Arnold attended the early meetings at which revival was planned to stage the event again at Tatton Park in 1977, attending every show since and writing a history of the Cheshire Agricultural Society which was published in book form.
The book took the story up to the mid 1980s from the foundation by Lord Combermere in 1838.
Retiring show chairman John Platt arranged the presentation of a Certificate of Appreciation for the work Mr Arnold has contributed over the years.
Mr Platt said: “This is a unique gesture on our part to someone who has taken a very sympathetic and detailed interest in the annual show, and has shared with us in its continued growth and success over the last thirty years in particular.
“We hope he will continue to report on the show for many more years.”
Mr Arnold joined The Chronicle from university, and was editor of the Mid Cheshire editions until he moved in 1990 to run the Whitchurch Herald, while continuing to cover the show after his retirement ten years ago.
He and his wife Sue have two sons and two daughters, with four grandchildren and, since his retirement, he has served as clerk to the Willington Worthenbury Community Council from his home near Malpas.
He said: “This presentation was a complete surprise, and I was very touched and honoured by such an unusual gesture by the Cheshire Agricultural Society.”