Thousands of schoolchildren celebrate Suffolk’s farming roots at ‘fantastic’ fair

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Thousands of schoolchildren descended on the home of the Suffolk Show as it basked in glorious sunshine at a unique celebration of the county’s farming roots.

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The School Farm and Country Fair, now in its 18th year, drew 4,530 seven to nine-year-olds from 93 Suffolk primary schools for a fun day of hands-on activities, displays and live events related to agriculture and the countryside.

Farmers stewards helped them to get the most out of the day, as they held ducklings and learnt how plants grow.

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Organisers of the fair at Ipswich’s Trinity Park were delighted at how improvements to the layout had worked - and at the beautiful spring weather, which arrived just in time for the event, on Thursday, April 19.

Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA), the organisation behind the Suffolk Show, started the fair in 2001 after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease brought the countryside to a standstill.

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

One of the charity’s main aims is to promote farming and its importance to young people across Suffolk, educating them about where food comes from and how it is produced, and hopefully inspiring some of them to become the next generation of farmers. Delighted fair committee chairman John Taylor, who is standing down this year after six years at the helm, said the weather had helped create a “fantastic” day, aided by a committed team of volunteer farmers and SAA staff.

“We are really, really fortunate that after six months of cold and wet we have got a fantastic day to show off farming in Suffolk,” he said.

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

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Schools attend the event from far and wide, coming from as far as Lowestoft to take part, thanks to sponsorship from the Felix Cobbold and Chadacre Agricultural Trusts, the Morley Foundation and Easton and Otley College.

Suffolk Show director Bee Kemball said the new layout had helped create “more of an atmosphere”. “I feel it’s lovely and contained this year,” she said.

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Teachers heaped praised on the event, and expressed delight at how well organised it was and the warm welcome schools had received.

“It’s all been very well put together,” said Liz Mellen of Haughley Crawfords primary. It was an “educational and well-run day”, she added.

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Kate Pizzey, who teaches at Great Barton primary, said: “I think it’s brilliant. I see it as being a mini-Suffolk Show.”

Great Barton pupil Charlotte Creasy, aged nine, said she had enjoyed seeing the animals. “They were showing dead things that you could stroke - that was fun,” she added.

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Exhibitor Alice Westrope of Humdinger, a Suffolk vegetables firm run by six Suffolk Sandlings farmers, said the day was “brilliant” with children engaging in fun, educational activities.

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pupils from Gislingham Primary School look at the wool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant