Suffolk Show Countdown 2019: Flagship county event celebrates bumper year

Suffolk Show crowds in 2017. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Suffolk Show crowds in 2017. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Last year’s ‘hugely successful’ Suffolk Show enjoyed a ‘very positive’ financial surplus, new figures reveal.

The flagship county event, run by farm charity Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA) at Trinity Park, Ipswich, saw income soar in 2018, and sponsorship reach record levels, the SAA’s annual report to September 2018 shows.

It was an even better financial performance than in 2017, which was also an impressive year. Near-record crowds of 90,200 turned up for the two-day 2018 show, which basked in warm, sunny weather.

MORE - Suffolk Show Countdown 2019: Piggy pin-ups set to hog limelight in build-up to county showcaseThe SAA aims to make the event break-even, or moving into a surplus, but has suffered weather setbacks in the past which have turned it into a loss-maker with the charity footing the bill. It sees the show as key to its goal of encouraging positive engagement between the public and those involved in the food and farming sector.

“With warm, sunny weather for the two days, the Suffolk Show was a resounding success with near-record crowds,” the report said. “Overall the financial outcome was very positive.”

It enjoyed a surplus before indirect costs for the year of £580,570, compared to £577,937 in 2017. Sponsorship income reached a record £244,610. “Pre-paid admission tickets, tradestands, livestock entries and sponsorship for the show all exceeded the previous year’s levels, increasing attendance above the three year average and generating an overall profit,” the report said.

Show director Bee Kemball, who stages her third show this year following a successful three-year run to date, said last year’s event had been “a huge success” and praised “dream team” SAA chief executive Phillip Ainsworth and his “incredible staff” for their efforts.

However, the SAA’s commercial arm, Trinity Park Events Ltd (TPEL), which operates its conference and events centre, suffered another setback. It recorded an operating loss of £9,339 compared with an operating profit of £35,847 the previous year. The 2017 turnaround followed a challenging 2016.

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The poor year in 2018 was a result of late cancellations of events, which caused an expected surplus for the year to fall into a deficit. However, forecasts for this year show a brighter picture, with improvements in all areas.

Overall, the SAA said its spending across the board had risen by 4.2% to nearly £3.13m.