County’s showpiece event set to surpass expectations

THIS year’s Suffolk Show is expected to be worth �40m to the local economy, organisers have said.

Thousands upon thousands of people poured through the gates of Trinity Park in Ipswich yesterday for the first day of the county’s 179th showcase event.

Glorious sunshine greeted visitors as they flocked to sample some of the very best that Suffolk has to offer.

Although organisers were unable to say exactly how many people went through the turnstiles they said they were on course to exceed the 90,000 they expected over the two days.

Show director Peter Over, who is stepping down after this year, said the event would be worth somewhere in the region of �40m for the county’s economy.

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“The day has gone better than we ever dreamed,” he said. “The weather has been fantastic and people have turned up in their thousands to support us.

“The show brings something like �40m into the county. People continue to do good business here and I think it is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved.

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“I feel hugely privileged and very proud to be part of such a wonderful event.

“The show is what we are all about, agriculture, education and fun.

“We put on a quality event and I think businesses and traders are keen to buy into that. I think it stands for everything that is good about Suffolk.”

Mr Over said his pick of the day was a display by an Apache helicopter from Wattisham, where troops simulated rearming and refueling the aircraft in a hostile environment.

It was preceded by a parachute jump from display team the Red Devils.

“It was a massive highlight,” he said. “Coupled with the good weather it has made an already great show into a fantastic show.”

With the good weather set to continue he said he was hoping for more of the same today.

Mr Over also presented Colonel Neale Moss, commander of aviation at 16 Air Assault Brigade and commander of Wattisham Flying Station, with a donation of �2,000 - which was hung around the neck of Suffolk Punch mare Eyke Amber.

The money will be used for the welfare fund for servicemen and women at Wattisham.

Col Moss said: “The support we have received from both the Suffolk Agricultural Association and members of the public has been absolutely superb. We can’t thank them enough.”

With more than 800 trade stands and over 1,300 livestock entries there was plenty for people to do.

It included everything from sheep dog displays and pig races through to show jumping and the Grand Parade.

Meanwhile excited youngsters enjoyed getting up close and personal with some of their farmyard favourites.

Lara Griffiths, of Bury St Edmunds, was with her two children, Jack, seven, and Penelope, five.

She said: “They have really enjoyed the day. They love seeing all the animals.

“The weather has been fantastic, we couldn’t have asked for any better really.”

Liam and Kelly Ryan, of Ipswich, who were with their six-year-old son Benjamin, were visiting the show for the first time.

“We have only just moved here and thought we would see what it was like,” they said. “We’re very impressed. There are lots of things for everyone to do.”

The Adnams Food and Drink Experience was packed throughout the day, while the cookery theatre drew in the crowds.

It featured demonstrations from Andy Cole and Gerard King of the Suffolk Food Hall in Wherstead near Ipswich and Paul Freeman of the Queen’s Head in Blyford, near Halesworth.

Meanwhile the Flower and Garden Experience was particularly busy - with seven exhibitors who won medals at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show all on display.

It included Brian and Pearl Sulman of Mildenhall, who scooped their 49th gold for their prize Pelargoniums.

Fuchsia specialists Potash Nursery, of Stowmarket, which won a silver gilt were also on show, along with Ken Muir of Clacton, who picked up a silver flora at Chelsea for strawberries and fruit trees.

Senior steward Stephen Miles said: “It really does send out a powerful message about the quality of exhibitors we attract to the show.”

There were also plenty of fun activities for families and youngsters to get involved with.

The sports zone had a number of events, from golf and running races through to tag rugby and handball.

Paralympian Brian Alldis was also on hand encouraging people to get more active in time for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It was part of his work with Suffolk Sport, which wants to get 25,000 people more active, more often by 2012.

“We want to try and get more people active by 2012,” Mr Alldis said. “I have already managed to secure a few pledges so its been brilliant. People have been very enthusiastic. The Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 are a big stepping stone to get more people involved in sport.”

Forecasters are expecting the fine weather to continue today, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the high teens.

Organisers will also be crossing their fingers for more of the same to ensure 2010’s Suffolk Show is one of the best yet.

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