Gallery: Come rain or shine, Suffolk shows style

THE Suffolk Show was launched to a little sun, a little rain and a blustery breeze but for the thousands of cheery visitors it was a top day out.

Lynne Mortimer

THE Suffolk Show was launched to a little sun, a little rain and a blustery breeze but for the thousands of cheery visitors it was a top day out. Lynne Mortimer reports on first day fashion and fun.

SO what if the weather forecast was a bit iffy, it was never going to deter the fashonistas from cutting a dash.

The Suffolk Show is a style melting pot and, with a watery sun doing its best to break through the steely grey clouds, the dilemma was whether to go dressed for sun or showers; comfort or couture.

Most people managed to find a compromise.

Undercover in the lifestyle pavilion, steward Trish Pearce was sporting one of the day's most dramatic hats, topping off an elegant black dress with lace

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A former Miss Suffolk Show (in fact, she won the title twice) Trish has been coming to the show since she was small.

The dress - “It's D&G,” she reveals - comes from Ginger in Norwich and the hat is from Lavender and Jade in Stradbroke.

In anticipation of a bit of rain, the wellies were out in force, yesterday, but it's no longer a matter of black or green - wellies now have their own chic.

Louise Perrier, Genevieve McManus and Hannah Thresh set the fashion pace with their array of foot-print, floral and chocolate decorated wellington boots.

Andi Horne and Amy Field were also trend-setting with sunglasses and brollies on standby.

Margaret Holland, Terry Heuchan and Muriel Craig were a trio of elegance, each beautifully co-ordinated. Margaret comes to the show every year but this was a first visit for her friends Terry and Muriel, from Galloway, in Scotland.

Margaret's tailored jacket edged in duck-egg blue, matching ankle-length dress came from Richard Grimes' in Ipswich.

Ann and Charles Barrington, from Bealings, who have been coming to the show “for many, many years” opted for classy, practical wear, perfect for a day spent visiting the acres of exhibits.

Hedging their bets, weather-wise, were Richard Benbrook and his son, James, from Dunmow, in Essex. With shorts, wellies, rugby shirts and cap, here were two men who were not going to be caught out by sunshine or showers.

And it wasn't just people making the style statements.

In matching waterproof jackets, Italian greyhounds Sophia and Pearl , are looking dapper. Sophia (on the left) was Best in Show two years ago, says proud owner Angie Steed.

Unperturbed by the occasional blustery shower, the sheep, cattle and horses, remained serene throughout the judging.

The Suffolk punches' carefully coiffured manes were as solid and unmoving as the horses themselves. If only the human hair-dos had been so resilient.

Everywhere, there were fleeces and not only on the sheep.

The Suffolk Show celebrates the life of the county in all its colour and diversity. A new fuchsia was launched at the flower show where this year's theme for arrangements was romance. A honeymoon section visited the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, a tropical beach and Venice.

Outside, the flower tent Will Gadd and Simon Ginger, from Otley College have a two-day challenge to create a garden. Designed by Simon, early on day one the two men are laying paving slabs. They seem pretty confident they'll be finished by their target time of 3pm on day two.

A cock crows in the poultry tent, a little late in the day for sunrise although, with the skies overcast, he may have been confused.

Every element of Suffolk life is here. Founded on the county's great agricultural tradition, the show embraces all aspects of farming as well as commerce, small business, leisure, crafts, charities and home skills.

The food and drink experience does exactly what it says on the tent. There is a chance to sample locally-made produce from curry to chocolate from beer to sloe gin.

Christmas came early in the Women's Institute tent with an exhibition of crib scenes, Christmas stockings and table centrepieces.

In the broad showground avenues fringed by maturing horse chestnut trees in full, deep pink bloom, people meet up and chat, catching up. Some are seeing each other for the first time since last year's show. Meanwhile, like small, fun-seeking missiles, children are heading for the farm area, the fairground rides and the small animal displays.

It is difficult not to make a beeline for the honey.

At last year's Suffolk Show, local beekeepers' collected 3,500 signatures towards a national petition calling for the Government to fund research into the health of the honey bee.

Tony Payne, chairman of the Suffolk Beekeepers' Association , said there beekeepers were grateful for the amount of public concern for their cause.

“We lost an awful lot of our (bee) colonies - not just here but on the continent and in the USA.”

Over the winter before last between 40 and 45% of colonies were lost compared to 10-15% over the winter 2008/9, he said.

The Government had now promised up to �4.3 million for research into the health of honey bees, said Mr Payne.

One of the effects of the publicity for bees has been a welcome upsurge of interest in beekeeping. “There are more people wanting to start beekeeping in Suffolk in recent times.”