Sept 18, 2012: Show organisers are counting the cost after the cancellation of several high profile events.
Two of the biggest countryside shows in Britain were cancelled after appalling weather turned the sites into quagmires. The Great Yorkshire Show was cancelled on July 10 after just one day because of the persisent heavy rain. And the CLA Game Fair, due to be held at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire from July 20 to 22, was called off more than a week in advance because of the state of the site. Businesses and the local economy are expected to lose about �32m because of the cancellation of the Game Fair. Other smaller events throughout the country were also cancelled because of the weather. The annual Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate was due to last another two days, but the very wet weather made the car parks unsafe. The show’s director Bill Cowling said: “This has been the most difficult decision that I have ever had to make. It is heartbreaking for all concerned, our exhibitors, our visitors and, of course, our staff.” The decision came after repeated deluges in what has been one of the wettest summers for years.The show, in its 154th year, had been expected to attract more than 130,000 visitors. Country Smallholding writer Liz Shankland was among the exhibitors. She said: “Torrential rain and flash flooding quickly turned the already sodden car parks into impassable areas which posed health and safety risks.” Judging continued for some hours on the second day, although the public were not admitted. Liz, whose sow won three first prizes plus the Champion Tamworth title, said she was impressed with the way in which the organisers managed the event amid difficult circumstances. “It was a bit hairy in the ring sometimes – keeping your footing was difficult enough without having to guide your pig as well. Getting the pigs to and from the ring eventually became a nightmare because the mud surrounding the pens was at ankle-level. Still, the pigs didn’t seem to mind, and some were even rolling in it!” The CLA Game Fair – one of the largest countryside events in the world – was expected to attract about 150,000 people. The event is held at different locations each year and it has only been cancelled once before in its 54-year history. The Duke of Rutland, who was due to host the event at his castle, said: “I join with all those who are disappointed that the fair is not to go ahead – visitors, exhibitors and all those in the hunting, shooting and fishing fraternity. It’s dreadfully sad news.” Everyone who has bought a ticket in advance or booked space at the event will be able to get a full refund.