10 May 2025

Baker Kathryn plans to defend her title at the Nottinghamshire County Show

A mum-of-two who won a Nottinghamshire County Show baking competition after she took part in memory of her mother is practicing hard as she prepares to defend her crown later this year.

Kathryn Davies, from Southwell, dedicated her rosette-winning performance at last year’s county show to her late mother, Mary, a cookery teacher who inspired her love of baking.

Her first-place triumph came in the millionaire shortbread category of the show's popular Make, Bake and Grow, its annual search for the best cakes, vegetables, preserves and baked goods in the whole of the county.

It was the first time that Kathryn had taken part, but it brought back fond memories of when she used to attend county shows with her mother.

She said: “My mum was diabetic, so she couldn’t test the entries at the shows we went to, so it was up to me to taste everything for her and tell her whether they tasted good.

“It was an important job as a seven-year-old! She would look at things like texture and I would test the flavour and report back.”

This year’s Nottinghamshire County Show will take place at the Newark Showground on May 11 and the Make, Bake and Grow competition is just one of a huge array of events being lined by organisers to keep the crowds entertained during the day.

Thousands of people will gather to enjoy the entertainment including livestock displays, live music, a family dog show and visits from White Post Farm and the Wee Donkey Company.

There will also be activities to encourage growing alongside food and drink stands, countryside pursuits and a display in the main ring by the IMPS Motorcycle Display team, a London-based charity whose young riders have performed all over the world.

However, Kathryn’s attention will be focussed on the Lady Eastwood Centre, where the Make, Bake and Grow competition will take place, with prizes being awarded in categories including lemon drizzle cake, cherry cake, cheese straws, flapjack and speciality bread rolls.

The competition also has eight classes for children, split into age categories - seven years and under, and eight to 12 years, with older children welcome to join the adult classes. Among the other previous young winners was six-year-old James Yeardley with his entry in the Butterfly Collage class catching the eyes of the judges.

The retired marketing manager, who worked for Procter and Gamble, said: “My mum taught me to bake from an early age and from eight we would make bake every Sunday afternoon as we made cakes and bread for the following week. It’s been very much part of my life and I still do that.”

Kathryn and her husband Stephen moved to Nottinghamshire a few years ago and the mother-of-two found she enjoyed going to Tuxford Mill as it makes its own flour and her passion for making bread was ignited.

Now she is urging others to get baking as it has brought families together for generations.

Kathryn said: “I think this show is so important for the community and I absolutely loved taking part last year.

“They make it very easy to enter the competitions and it’s really fun. With the millionaire shortbread, my friend came up from London and told me the trick of boiling condensed milk in the tin to make the caramel – I was convinced it was going to blow up.

“The kids were happy as they kept getting to test it. I’ve carried on the family tradition and it’s always so much fun for everyone as they have a go.

“I think it’s really worth taking part. The whole process of making and presenting what you’ve made is such fun. Even if you don’t win a prize, you’ll have a lovely day. The main thing is you enjoy doing it.”

The show is hosted every year by the Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society, a registered charity which works all year round to support farmers and the rural community across the county.

It has something for everyone, with classes for budding bakers, gardeners and even a chance to showcase some farmyard art. The deadline for entries is in the Make, Bake and Grow competitions is April 18.

Tickets are currently being sold at a discounted rate of £13 or to enter the Make, Bake and Grow competitions and look at the full schedule visit www.nottinghamshirecountyshow.com


Picture shows: Kathryn Davies with some of the baked goods she has made