Record crowds at South Suffolk Show

RECORD crowds and a host of new attractions helped make this year's South Suffolk Show one of the most successful ever.By mid-afternoon yesterday there were 12,000 people on the showground at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, and organisers were expecting more to flock in through the afternoon.

By Sheena Walshe

RECORD crowds and a host of new attractions helped make this year's South Suffolk Show one of the most successful ever.

By mid-afternoon yesterday there were 12,000 people on the showground at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, and organisers were expecting more to flock in through the afternoon.

Jim Mann, vice chairman of the South Suffolk Agricultural Association, which organises the show, said it was a record crowd.

He added: "Over the last few years we have changed the layout of the show ground to make it more inviting for people and the show's reputation is growing.

"We are also managing to keep it as a traditional agricultural show as well as promoting more countryside attractions that people are looking to see. These things all go towards making it a great day out for all the family."

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Mr Mann, who farms at Little Saxham and whose father, Tom, is 2003 show president, said he was pleased with the way the changes to the layout of the ground had been received by visitors and praised the work of the show's many volunteer helpers and stewards who ensured the event ran smoothly.

This year a countryside ring was included alongside the grand ring for the first time to enlarge and enhance the show's developing countryside theme and provide a wider spectrum of entertainment.

Organisers say one of the aims of the South Suffolk Show is to show the public the necessity for an agricultural industry supplying quality food and a well-maintained countryside providing for both people and wildlife. The show also raises money for good causes and has this year given £1,000 to the Support British Farming Campaign.

The EADT-sponsored show featured classes for sheep, cattle, pigs, horses and a wide array of attractions including a craft marquee, farmers' market and food hall.

Among the highlights in the new countryside ring were seven classes of majestic Suffolk heavy horses, donkey championships and vintage tractors.

There was also a display of gundogs, birds of prey and ferrets and a performance by the four-man Welsh Axe Team, who gave a spectacular demonstration of their cutting skills, a driving display by harness horses pulling 100-year-old original trade vehicles and the Saffron Walden and District Riding Club Quadrille performing their award-winning display entitled "Chess".

Attractions in the grand ring included quad bike stunt man Matt Coulter – the Kangaroo Kid, who is featured in the 2003 Guinness World Records for jumping 40.9 metres over 14 Honda CRV vehicles on a quad bike.

There was also a parade of hounds of the Suffolk Hunt and the De Burgh and North Essex Harehounds.

As usual, the South Suffolk featured a large horse show in several rings, including classes for show jumping, show ponies, Arab horses and side saddle.

For younger members of the family, there was a children's area featuring play equipment, fairground rides and stalls.

n Full show results will be included in tomorrow's EADT.

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