Top stick makers set to show their skills in Warwickshire

Secretary of the British Stickmakers Guild Ian Moore with Lizz Clarke
Secretary of the British Stickmakers Guild Ian Moore with Lizz Clarke

One of the country’s more obscure competitions will be coming to Warwickshire this summer for the first time.

The first leg of the UK national stickmaking championship will be held at Stoneleigh Park as part of the Kenilworth Show on Saturday June 10.

Stickmaking is a traditional country craft, in which stickmakers refine and carve sticks, often made from sheep’s horn, into their own creations.

The sticks created are used by many people use as walking sticks.

Breaking away from championship conventions, there will be a competition for under-12s, which is not usually part of the national championships.

Ian Moore is the secretary of the British Stickmakers Guild and lead organiser for the Kenilworth Show event. He hopes the competition will encourage younger people to take up the traditional craft.

He said: “We had a lot of local entrants last year and hopefully we’ll get people participating from a wider geographical area this year considering it is part of the national competition.

“Hopefully we can make it interesting for people, add to the show and broaden the interest in stickmaking in general.

“I hope the show is a success, but not only for stickmaking but for the whole community. As a local person I very much support it.”

The British Stickmakers Guild has more than 2,000 members, including members from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Heads of the sticks usually resemble British countryside birds and mammals, such as kingfishers, grouse and hares.

Judges will select the winning sticks in the 14 different classes at the Kenilworth Show, including two novice classes for people who have never entered a competition before.

And organisers are also planning to hold a demonstration of stickmaking on the day.

Charlie Weetman, director of the Kenilworth Show, said: “We’re delighted that Ian is bringing back stickmaking to this year’s show – showcasing the very traditional craft.

“Last year the interest in the stickmaking was fantastic, we hope that with the national element this year it will attract even more stickmakers from around the country.”