Suffolk Show organisers celebrate ‘tremendous year’ as finances boosted

Suffolk Agricultural Association annual general meeting at Trinity Park. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk Agricultural Association annual general meeting at Trinity Park. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk Agricultural Association celebrated a “tremendous year” at its annual general meeting on Monday (February 19).

Farmers praised last year’s smash-hit Suffolk Show and a major turnaround in the fortunes of the SAA’s events arm as they reviewed the year to September 2017.

The 2017 show saw near record crowds of 91,300 and made nearly £578,000 after direct costs are taken out.

Meanwhile, the charity’s commercial events arms, Trinity Park Events Ltd (TPEL), saw a significant uplift in the fortunes of converting a loss in 2016 of nearly £86,000, into an operating profit of nearly £36,000 in 2017.

Overall, it meant the SAA came within a whisker of its long-term goal to reach break-even overall, without the prop of its long-term investments.

Every year, the charity spends out thousands of pounds on a series of activities aimed at promoting the countryside and farming and educating young people about it.

Its total operating deficit before investment income fell by £154,000 - an impressive 96% - to a minus £7,000 figure.

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“I think it has been a tremendous year,” said chair David Nunn. “Last year was certainly a show to remember. Congratulations to the team for an outstanding two days.”

The success of the show was “all down to teamwork”, he said.

The overall picture was “much improved”, with the showground now “very busy” with numerous events throughout the year, including the Copdock Bike Show, and All About Dogs, and a successful series of events at Trinity Park conference centre which helped to boost the coffers.

As a result of the financial successes, show director Bee Kemball said they were making some important infrastructure improvements, including to the roads and entrances to the showground.

“A big thank you to everybody who helped with last year’s show,” she said.

She outlined the big theme for this year’s event, which takes place on May 30 and 31, of ‘looking back and looking forward’ to encompass the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I and the role the county has played in technological innovations, particularly through BT’s Adastral Park at Martlesham, near Ipswich.