Suffolk Show director’s delight at opening day success

Crowds enjoyed the scorching sunshine on the first day of the Suffolk Show 2015.

Crowds enjoyed the scorching sunshine on the first day of the Suffolk Show 2015. - Credit: Archant

The 184th Suffolk Show has been declared a “feast of excitement” by director Bill Baker.

Show director Bill Baker with Andrew Pinny and Suffolk sheep

Show director Bill Baker with Andrew Pinny and Suffolk sheep

Thousands of showgoers enjoyed the sunshine at Trinity Park for the opening day of the event.

Today was a distant memory for those who were at the 100 hectare site three years ago, when the second day was cancelled due to terrible weather, a moment Mr Baker called a “tragedy” for those involved.

Organisers made the tough decision to cancel the second day of the event due to safety concerns over predicted high winds. It was the first cancellation since the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001.

Mr Baker said: “The cancellation in 2012 was a tragedy for traders, the agricultural association and all concerned.

“It cost in excess of half-a-million ponds in cash and probably more in our standing and brand.

“But we believe it was handled in the right way, and we now find ourselves back in a cycle of trying to break even.

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“We opened the gates with new scanned ticketing. We were slightly anxious but it seemed to go like clockwork.

“Very quickly, the show ground filled up in all areas. Record is an easily used word but we are able to count numbers more accurately than in previous years and have certainly seen an increase.

“As I walked around the show ground, I passed a massive crowd surrounding Titan the Robot. I saw that the stands were busy, and at that moment the apache helicopter rolled out and everyone looked up.

“It was a feast of excitement.”

Mr Baker, a Bury St Edmunds farmer, has been keen to promote agriculture as a modern career choice – a sentiment demonstrated by the dedicated Farm Discovery Zone, sponsored by For Farmers.

He said: “We recognised some years ago that recruitment into the industry was going the wrong way. We were perhaps not recruiting the high calibre of staff we needed. The whole economic background of the industry was declining – but we have changed that round and invested in education. It is now bearing dividends, with colleges filling up and salaries increasing, and this is the best shop window for young people to start.”

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