Tendring Show hailed a success

By Sharon AsplinAS gale force winds and a deluge of rain battered East Anglia a few days ago, there were fears this year's Tendring Hundred Show was on course to be a washout.

By Sharon Asplin

AS gale force winds and a deluge of rain battered East Anglia a few days ago, there were fears this year's Tendring Hundred Show was on course to be a washout.

But the threatening rain clouds just missed Lawford Park, near Manningtree, on Saturday, enabling the show to be a bumper success.

Although temperatures did not match the scorching heat recorded in 2003, the mixture of sunshine and cloud with the odd isolated spot of rain meant it was much more comfortable for the livestock on display, not to mention the thousands of visitors who flocked to see their favourite exhibits.

This year's attendance was about 24,000, which almost matched last year's record crowds. Quicker routes to the show, less queuing at the gates and extra car parks also meant it was easier for everyone to get around.

Show secretary, Romany Foster, said: "I really think it's been better this year for not being so hot. Also, I do not think constantly striving for record attendance is good for anybody, not for the trade stands, the people who are paying to visit or our members.

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"All the feedback I have had has been very good and I can honestly say I have not had one major complaint at all.

"This is indicative of the fact we do not want to be too big. We are a one-day show, we are not trying to be a two-day show. The highlight for me is that the whole show offers something for everybody."

Just two weeks before, the showground was just a grass field, but a dedicated team from the Tendring Hundred Farmers' Club worked hard to transform it into the showpiece that the public saw on Saturday. More than 220 volunteer stewards were also on hand to make sure the event ran smoothly.

The theme for this year's show was Constructing the Countryside, with demonstrations of the various different types of construction that can be found in rural Britain.

The aim was to show the countryside is a created environment, rather than a natural one, and how different types of construction and habitats benefited different species of animals and birds.

It was an appropriate choice as this year's show president, Bill Rose, is a builder. He said: "I am not a farmer and to me this is a special highlight to have this theme in my presidential year.

"I have enjoyed every minute of it. It is great to see all the crowds and everybody's been really happy."

Once again, the animal classes were a main feature of the show, with categories for horses, cattle, pigs, sheep and goats as well as rats, pigeons, dogs, rabbits and poultry. Handlers were also able to prove their skills with their charges.

Crowds gathered around the main president's ring throughout the day for a series of animal, music and dancing displays, while the countryside area with terrier racing, gun dog and falconry demonstrations also proved a hit.

Visitors could even try out fly fishing on a large man-made pond as well as practise archery and shooting skills under tuition from the experts.

Meanwhile, the scent from the flower tent - a new addition to the show this year - was overpowering.

Concentrating on flower clubs, local societies and garden clubs, both displaying and exhibiting, the tent also fielded a number of experts to offer help and advice on all aspects of gardening.

Dedham and the surrounding area was the community in focus this year, with a diverse range of groups exhibiting and performing on the stage area.

Other show fixtures included the art show - with more than 250 works on display and for sale from artists - more than 250 trade stands, vintage cars, an education area featuring more than 40 schools displaying their work and student performances, a craft marquee and a food tent.