Last year’s Suffolk Show attracted average gate, in spite of poor weather

Suffolk Agricultural Association AGM on Monday at Trinity Park conference centre, Suffolk Showground

Suffolk Agricultural Association AGM on Monday at Trinity Park conference centre, Suffolk Showground, Nacton Ipswich.Baroness Byford, Peter Over, Phillip Ainsworth CEO, John Wall, Bee Kemball, Bill Baker, Davd Nunn, Lord Iveagh, Robert Rous, Loudon Greenlees. - Credit: Archant

Despite a cold, wet start to last year’s Suffolk Show, the event managed to attract relatively good numbers of people, members of the organisation behind the event were told today.

Suffolk Agricultural Association AGM on Monday at Trinity Park conference centre, Suffolk Showground

Suffolk Agricultural Association AGM on Monday at Trinity Park conference centre, Suffolk Showground, Nacton Ipswich.Lord Iveagh. - Credit: Archant

Around 83,200 visitors, on a par with the five-year average attendance, ensured that the event came close to being financially break-even, Suffolk Agricultural Association’s (SAA) annual general meeting heard.

Admissions income fell by £42,000 from a high of £536,000 in 2015 to £494,000 in 2016 but this was due to the unfavourable weather conditions, treasurer Loudon Greenlees explained. However, income from tradestands was up, as were show donations and sponsorship.

Outgoing SAA chair Robert Rous praised last year’s show director, Bill Baker, as a “tower of strength” during his three years in the role, with changes at the top of the organisation and periods without a chief executive.

He had dealt with the particular challenges of his tenure, with “great patience and understanding”, he said.


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Meanwhile, SAA’s separate events arm, Trinity Park Events Ltd, had a challenging year, as tough market conditions and competition took their toll.

As a result, sales fell by £75,000, pushing it from a profitable year in 2015 to a net loss of £85,000.

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The Christmas part season continued to be a mainstay, but despite an increasing trend of public sector meetings and functions, outside lettings during the summer and the number of parties and dinners fell away. However, 2017 is looking brighter for the association’s diversification, with strong bookings.

The association is not proceeding with a sale of land to the west of the showground after gaining approval for a housing scheme in 2015, the meeting was told.

“The sale of this land would have a very major impact on the successful use of the showground and the projected sale proceeds currently appears unlikely to cover the necessary remedial works,” trustees said in their report.

The Earl of Iveagh expressed delight after he was elected president of the SAA following a year as president-elect. He praised John Wall’s “first rate presidency” in 2016. This year’s president-elect is Baroness Byford, who has a farm at Acton, near Sudbury.

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