UK Rural Britain should turn out in force for CLA game fair, says director

The CLA Game Fair 2013, which takes place this year at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire from July 19-21

The CLA Game Fair 2013, which takes place this year at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire from July 19-21 - Credit: Archant

CLA Game Fair Director Andrew Crawford has called on rural Britain to turn out in force to support this year’s country show season.

Speaking at the London launch of the CLA Game Fair 2013, which takes place at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire, from July 19-21, Mr Crawford said outdoor events, attended by millions of people each year, were the lifeblood of the rural economy and a shop window for thousands of small businesses who desperately need help.

He said: “Last year’s wet weather cost the rural economy more than £240million after a string of countryside events were cancelled. We are calling for a massive show of support for the organisers, exhibitors and traders at all of this year’s outdoor shows to help give the countryside a significant boost. As the largest event of its kind in the world, we hope the CLA Game Fair serves as a platform for a united front to show the rural economy has a strong and successful future.

“We predict very healthy visitor numbers this year. Spending with our exhibitors is vital to help these businesses and other organisations survive. We are in the unique position of being able to draw visitors from all sectors and we always look to target new audiences with initiatives such as our support for The Schools Shooting Challenge.

“The 2013 CLA Game Fair venue at Ragley Hall is centrally placed and within easy reach of major cities and towns so we will be increasing our emphasis on encouraging a new and younger audience to experience country sports for the first time. The CLA Game Fair offers a unique opportunity to try everything from clay shooting, to fishing and off-roading.”

CLA Director General Helen Woolley added: “The CLA Game Fair is the world’s biggest game fair and is the CLA’s flagship event. It is an opportunity for so many diverse rural trades to combine in one venue and provides an excellent platform to educate a wider audience on the crucial role the countryside plays in all our lives.

“As well as sporting action, main arena attractions, a sumptuous food festival, shopping from around 1,000 exhibitors and a renewable energy zone, the CLA Game Fair provides an important forum for debate on key issues affecting the countryside, and is regularly attended by Government ministers and other politicians.”

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Around £80million is generated in the regional and wider rural economy during the CLA Game Fair with upwards of 144,000 visitors and 1,000 exhibitors. Ragley Hall last hosted the CLA Game Fair in 2010 when around 145,000 people attended the three-day event.

Alan Granger, Chief Executive of the Ragley Estate, said: “We are delighted and honoured to be hosting the 2013 CLA Game Fair for the second time. We will be working hard alongside the CLA team to prepare for a record year.”

TV presenter Tom Heap, from BBC1’s Countryfile, which conducted an investigation into the cost to the rural economy of the wettest summer on record said: “The dreadful weather of 2012 cost rural Britain at least £1billion.

“Data obtained by Countryfile from farmers, tourist businesses, insurers and events organisers show the wettest summer for 100 years hit the countryside hard. The CLA Game Fair was one of the biggest shows to suffer and I’m sure exhibitors and visitors will be back with a vengeance this year.”

Tickets for the game fair go on sale in March. See for details.