JULY 30: The Royal Welsh Show strengthened its claim to be the biggest and best-attended event of its kind in Europe when a record 241,099 visitors including over 777 from 39 countries around the world, passed through the gates of the showground at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.
Sun screen, dark glasses and ice cream were among the orders of the day when a good weather window brought blue skies and sweltering temperatures to Mid Wales after weeks of heavy rain. In fact, it was so hot at the show that there were some severe cases of sunburn and heatstroke. On the second day, St John Cymru erected an emergency inflatable marquee to treat those affected. One man needed hospital treatment for 40%-50% first degree burns and heatstroke. He was given morphine and intravenous fluids before being taken to the specialist burns unit at Morriston Hospital in Swansea. The following day, five more people were also taken to hospital – three by air – including a woman who suffered a severe asthma attack. Livestock exhibitors faced a challenge keeping their animals cool and hydrated, and several sheep were reported to have died by mid-week. Country Smallholding writer Liz Shankland said pig breeders were fortunate that the building they were housed in was fitted with fans, but they still had to keep hosing down their animals and wetting straw bedding in order to keep temperatures down. Liz, who won Reserve Champion in the Traditional Breeds section with a January-born Tamworth gilt, Tudful Lucky Lass 163, said: “It was a constant battle keeping them cool and watered but, fortunately, pig exhibitors are extremely vigilant and keep an eye out just in case their own animals or someone else’s are in distress. “When we loaded our pigs on the trailer for the grand parade in the main ring, we all took buckets of water and sponges with us, in case the pigs needed cooling down. It was so different to last year, when it poured down on us as we did the rounds.” A show spokesman said: “The crowds loved the brilliant display of nearly 7,000 livestock, the buzz of 1,000 shops and trade stands and the hundreds of interests and activities to be found around every corner at the Royal Welsh. “By Monday evening 54,246 visitors, the highest first day attendance since 2006 when the event attracted a record total of 240,140, were on the showground. “Records began to tumble on the second day when the attendance reached a new high for a Tuesday of 65,807, and the third day’s figure of 70,125 took the total for the first three days of the show to 190,178, making a new record attendance for the show attainable. “The final day’s figure of 50,921 took the total to 241,099 creating a new record attendance for the four day event.” Royal Welsh Chief Executive, David Walters, described the show as one of the smoothest ever staged. It was the result of a team effort by everyone involved including the exhibitors and the many sponsors who had made a huge contribution to its success. The chairman of the RWAS Council, Alun Evans, said people came to the show in their thousands because they wanted to be part of its success. “The show is here and it’s here to grow,” he said.