Galleries: Show pumps �4m into local economy

THIS year's Suffolk Show has pumped more than �4m into the local economy, organisers said tonight.

Craig Robinson

THIS year's Suffolk Show has pumped more than �4m into the local economy, organisers said tonight.

Around 85,000 visitors flocked through the gates of Trinity Park in Ipswich over the last two days, and the event has been hailed a major success - defying the gloomy economic climate.

Director Peter Over said it would bring between �4m and �4.5m to the county's economy.

"We have had a wonderful show," he said. "The crowds have been fantastic and it's so good to see that in these difficult times that people have supported us and come to the show to put a smile back on their faces.

"It's very gratifying for us because we work hard to put on a quality show and I think the people of Suffolk have responded. That's what people want - if they have to spend their hard earned money then they want quality.

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"It can be tricky because we have to be true to our farming roots and remember our traditions and heritage. But at the same time we have to balance that with exhibitions and activities to give it a broad appeal that will involve everybody. Judging by this year I think we are not far wrong."

Mr Over said the Suffolk Show had become a "beacon" of all that was great about the county.

"It is a celebration of Suffolk life," he said. "People appreciate that we are fortunate to live in this wonderful county and to be honest I don't think we shout about it enough.

"We have the best farms, the best produce, the best traders and the best people. It is a fantastic showcase for all that is great about the county."

The displays and exhibitions continued yesterday with independent artists and craftsmen showing off their talents alongside sellers of vast agricultural machinery, while elsewhere local restaurants, colleges and entertainers were busy wowing the crowds.

And with exhilarating displays from daring stunt motorcyclists and the Jive Pony riders along with a range of traditional and rare-breed livestock on show, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Deputy show director Bee Kemball said the two day spectacular had been fantastic from start to finish.

"Today we are bursting at the seams and everyone has enjoyed themselves immensely," she said. "I'm not surprised by the number of people. I'm really happy. We thought we would have a busier day because of the weather forecast.

"There are a lot of people very keen to experience the 'feel good' factor at the moment and they want to come out and have a good day with the family.

"We are hearing about so much doom and gloom in the media and it is great to see Suffolk coming out and celebrating what's best about the county."

Mrs Kemball said a particular highlight had been the Flower and Garden Experience and last night's landing of an Apache helicopter.

"There are a lot of military families living here in Suffolk and we wanted to make a gesture," she said. "Hopefully we will work towards building a closer relationship becasue they are an important part of our community."

Despite the success of this year's show Mr Over said the organisers would not be resting on their laurels.

He said bosses would be meeting tomorrow morning to discuss plans for 2010.

"We have got some ideas on how we want to improve next year," he said. "We would like to modernise the food hall for example. “Food is obviously directly related to agriculture and its important that we remember our roots."

Mr Over said he would like to thank everyone who turned out for this year's show, the 350 volunteer stewards that make it all possible and the businesses that offer it their support.

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