Event cancelled amid safety fears
A POPULAR annual agriculture event which has raised thousands of pounds for charity has been cancelled this year because of health and safety fears.The Power of the Past event, which attracted some 20,000 visitors last year, was due to be held on September 24 and 25 at Wantisden Valley, near Woodbridge.
A POPULAR annual agriculture event which has raised thousands of pounds for charity has been cancelled this year because of health and safety fears.
The Power of the Past event, which attracted some 20,000 visitors last year, was due to be held on September 24 and 25 at Wantisden Valley, near Woodbridge.
It would have boasted a huge range of fully working displays from heavy machinery including tractors, steam engines and earthmovers as well as horse and military shows.
But after a series of risk assessments, the team behind the event have decided to scrap this year's spectacular, which would have been the tenth anniversary.
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Kate Leith, event organiser, said: "It's down to how we feel about the health and safety of the show.
"Because we're a very rare show in the fact that we have working demonstrations throughout, we just felt that we weren't happy we could hold the show feeling as though anything might happen.
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"As a family-run show, we didn't want to have that pressure on us. At the moment we're in the process of sending out letters to all of the exhibitors and notifying people as quickly as possible.
"We took the view that we didn't want to change the nature of the show. To do it how we feel 100% safe it would have just taken too much time and cost a lot of money.
"It's just a general indication of the way that these sort of shows are thinking now, with all the health and safety implications.
"We didn't feel it wasn't safe but we felt that there's so many things that can happen when you've got that many people in one place, or someone doesn't follow the rules."
Mrs Leith said that the recent tragedy at the East Coast Extreme car show, held at the former Bentwaters air base in Rendlesham, near Woodbridge, had been a factor in the decision.
Ipswich man Adam Brand, 19, was killed after being involved in a collision with a bus as he left the event earlier this month.
Mrs Leith, who stressed that insurance premiums did not play a part in the cancellation, said: "We were having concerns before the East Coast Extreme event, but it just opened our eyes even more.
"Anything could happen, no matter how well we covered ourselves. We'd rather finish the show on a good note, on a high, than change the nature of it.
"It was a difficult decision to make and it's a shame but the show has just grown and grown and it's got to the stage now where it's almost too much to handle on top of the other businesses we run.
"We'd been thinking about it for a while, we got a consultant in and we weren't happy that we could put on the show to our satisfaction, so we had to make the drastic decision to call it off."
But this year's cancellation may not necessarily mean the end of the event, which has raised about £100,000 for local charities since it was launched.
Mrs Leith said: "We haven't made any decision about next year, but this year we haven't got enough time to fix everything to our satisfaction."