20 questions with Chief Executive of Westmorland County Agricultural Society and Chairman of the Association of Shows and Agricultural Organisations – Christine Knipe.
1. Where were you born and when?
Barrow hospital following a challenging ambulance journey in snow storms back in 1960.
2. What was your first job?
First paid job was helping on the family milk round earning 5p for Saturday morning’s deliveries and money collecting. Leaving school I became an articled clerk training to be an accountant.
3. If you weren't working in agriculture, how would you like to earn a living?
I had always wanted to work in Europe as an interpreter.
4. Do you have a family?
I am blessed with a daughter, 26, who is a primary school teacher in Manchester and our son, 22, works for a local fencing and hedging contractor and is also involved on the family farm.
5. What was your biggest mistake?
I have certainly made a few along the way, but probably not learning from them is the biggest mistake.
6. What advice would you give to someone starting out in the workplace today?
Work hard and always look for that extra job, not waiting for someone to tell you what that is.
7. What are your hobbies or interests out of work?
I love patchwork and embroidery, not that there is much time for sewing at the moment. Also really enjoy cooking and spending time at home.
8. What was your first car?
A wonderful Triumph 1300 car. It was burgundy coloured with a walnut dashboard and gear knob. Sadly it came to a sticky end when borrowed by my younger brother.
9. What do you insist on in the Westmorland County Agricultural Society office?
Teamwork, friendly banter and honesty.
10. Which celebrity would you most like to take out for dinner and why?
Stephen Fry because I imagine conversation would never be boring with him in the room.
11. What difference would 10 million pounds make to your life?
Apart from the obvious of settling the mortgage and overdraft then taking a holiday, I would like to promote helping youngsters understand more about where their food comes from.
12. What's your top timesaving tip?
Getting things right first time.
13. What is the weirdest experience you’ve had working in farming?
Milking cows in bare feet on a farm in Vermont. None of the family possessed wellies!
14. What was your best career decision?
Applying to work for Westmorland Agricultural Society.
15. If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be?
Gosh this is hard, assuming family doesn’t count – My mother’s wedding ring, which was also my grandmother’s, a family photo album, a pen so I could write about the things I'm about to see or have seen, my memories and finally my iPad.
16. What is your favourite film?
The Sound of Music – so many happy memories watching this film.
17. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
Having visited the USA on exchange through Young Farmers, I would love to revisit all my host families and also tour the western national parks.
18. Who do you consider to be your hero?
Everyone has a different opinion about what a hero is. They come in many shapes, sizes, have different characteristics, values, and beliefs. A hero to me is someone who you look up to and can model yourself on. For me that was my mum.
19. What is your best childhood memory?
As children our holidays were a day at the Royal Lancashire Show and another at Great Yorkshire. One of my favourite memories were the arguments between my two brothers and I as to who could see Blackpool Tower first on route to the Royal Lancashire Show.
20. During the next ten years, what do you perceive to be the biggest threat to agricultural shows in England?
A combination of challenging weather and increased regulation.