Record crowds flock to Hadleigh Show

IT has bounced back from the foot-and-mouth crisis, defied wet weather and even Ipswich Town's frenzied play off game was no match for the Hadleigh Show.

IT has bounced back from the foot-and-mouth crisis, defied wet weather and even Ipswich Town's frenzied play off game was no match for the Hadleigh Show.

A record breaking crowd of more than 12,000 people visited the annual country show in the picturesque Holbecks Park on Saturday.

A traditional celebration of agriculture, the event is now in its 165th year and the crowds were bustling around the stalls.

Last year, visitors flocked in their thousands despite pouring rain as the show made its come back after the foot-and-mouth that affected it the year before.

David Tabrett, director of this year's show, which is sponsored by the East Anglian Daily Times, said: "You can put your heart and your soul into organising an event like this and if you get a bad day there's nothing you can do about it. There's a huge sigh of relief when you wake up and the sun is shining.

"I think it probably had the most people visit ever. Everybody seems to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves and going round was a delight as everyone was so positive, so I think it was deemed rather successful.

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"I don't think the football had much of an effect. I think we would have struggled to fit many more people in so they did us a favour really."

A new countryside ring was introduced this year, which featured the donkey and livestock judging before various demonstrations took over, including fly-fishing, falconry, terrier racing, sheep dog handling and a gun dog scurry.

The set up of the nine-hour show was revamped this year, with tickets being sold per person, rather than per car, and parking being removed from around the ring to open up the view of the displays.

However the events in the main ring remained unchanged and the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds, East Anglian Bloodhounds and the Stour Valley Beagles also undertook their traditional parade.

But the show's star entertainment this year was a light trade harness display by local tradesmen. Children had the opportunity to see the livestock up close while art-loving grown ups wandered into a large marquee packed with sculptures and paintings.

Anita and Ron Mills, who have just moved to Lindsey from Essex, said: "The Essex Show is bigger than this but this has got more of a country feel to it.

"I like the smallness of it, you can see where you want to go. I feel more at home here than at the major shows."

Graham Panton, from the Hadleigh Society, which had a stall at the event, said: "It's good that the tradition has been maintained. I've lived here since the 70s and in 35 years I've come to every single one. A lot of other people do the same and it's very much our show, not just for the farmers, but for the town as a whole."

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