Suffolk Show organisers celebrate bumper year as surplus soars

Hot weather brings out a large crowd to the Suffolk Show 2017. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Hot weather brings out a large crowd to the Suffolk Show 2017. Picture: NICK BUTCHER - Credit: Nick Butcher

Organisers of the 2017 Suffolk Show are celebrating a bumper year, with soaring ticket sales and a healthy financial surplus.

After direct costs are taken out, the show made nearly £578,000, an 11% rise on the previous year.

At the same time, sponsorship income reach record levels to stand at £195,000, the charity which runs it says.

Trustees at Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA), which is due to hold its 187th annual general meeting on Monday, February 19, at Trinity Park, Ipswich, said the show had been “a resounding success” with near record crowds of 91,300.

The SAA’s conference and events centre, Trinity Park Events Ltd (TPEL), which had a rocky time in 2016 with what trustees described as a “very poor trading year” also celebrated a significant uplift with a return to profitability. After an operating loss in 2016 of nearly £86,000, it turned in an operating profit of nearly £36,000 in the year ended September 2017.

Income from the show and other commercial activities is ploughed back into the charity, which runs educational events and promotes farming and the countryside.

In some years, the show fails to break even, especially when weather conditions are difficult, but this year it made more than £1.5m, against direct costs of nearly £950,000

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Ex-SAA chairman Robert Rous, who stood down in June, said the event was “a beacon”.

“It was a great treat for me to finish my chairmanship with such a wonderful show in 2017,” he said.

Mr Rous, who presided over big changes at the organisation, including the appointment of a new chief executive, a new governance system and setting a strategic direction, added that both the association in general and the show in particular were now in a “healthy and robust position”.

Show director Bee Kemball said the event had been “a huge success” and said the show build-up campaign resulted in the highest ever recorded number of pre-show ticket sales.

Last year’s SAA president, Lord Iveagh, said it had been a “wonderful” event.

Incoming chair David Nunn said with a decision made not to move the showground to the east of its site at Nacton, the board was now looking at a programme of capital improvements at it over the next five years.