Thousands flock to Suffolk Show

TENS of thousands of people enjoyed the first day of the Suffolk Show as it was graced by excellent weather and a Royal guest.The rain stayed away and the crowds poured in to the Bucklesham Road showground in Ipswich yesterday – and organisers hope the success will be repeated today.

TENS of thousands of people enjoyed the first day of the Suffolk Show as it was graced by excellent weather and a Royal guest.

The rain stayed away and the crowds poured in to the Bucklesham Road showground in Ipswich yesterday – and organisers hope the success will be repeated today.

Stephen Miles, deputy show director, said: "It has been good and the weather has been brilliant. I think everybody got in, in terms of the traffic, and there were no complaints on that front.

"We have 700 stands in total. We are drawing people in from far and wide."

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One of the highlights of the first day was the visit by the Princess Royal.

People paused their trips around the agricultural spectacular to ensure the Royal visitor was given a warm welcome as she arrived by helicopter.

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After being driven from the landing point, the Princess Royal arrived at the heart of the showground.

Young and old gathered around to catch a glimpse of the Queen's daughter, who was wearing a bright green suit and, with her hair tied up in her trademark chignon, she appeared unruffled by the breeze.

Accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lord Tollemache, and the Chief Constable of Suffolk police, Alastair McWhirter, Princess Anne was introduced to a group of dignitaries, including the High Sheriff, Countess of Euston, and the Earl of Euston as well as the chairman of Suffolk County Council, Jane Hore.

With the crowd alternating between hushed anticipation and cheers, the Princess started her packed programme, which saw her walk around some of the show's best attractions.

Lord Tollemache said: "It is a wonderful day and it is really good to see so many people. I was a bit worried last night as it rained so hard.

"The Princess Royal is enjoying herself and is pleased that she is here. She has a busy day seeing as many things as she can possibly see.

"She is enthusiastic about everything that she sees and this is a really friendly and happy agricultural show for all ages."

Mr McWhirter, who visited the show for the first time last year, added: "What's lovely about the show is it has a nice family feel and a good Suffolk crowd.

"What we have been doing is taking Her Royal Highness around so that she can have close contact with the show without providing problems with security."

After walking to the President's Enclosure, the Princess met high-profile members of the show's organising team and the Suffolk Agricultural Association, before presenting the Long Service Awards.

Taking her place on the dais, she saw a parade of war veterans with about 80 proudly raised Royal British Legion standards.

In the sheep building and judging rings, the Princess spoke to David Inman, who was exhibiting his Landum Flock, from Melton Mowbray.

He said: "It is good to see her support the traditional breeds. I explained to her that it was the first time I had been to the Suffolk Show and that I am a council representative, for the Suffolk Sheep Society, in the mid and eastern area so I thought it would be good to come here.

"It has been a really good day and it's always nice to meet royalty."

The Princess Royal then visited one of the star attractions of the show, the Food Hall, which was bursting with home-made produce.

While in the huge marquee she visited the stall of Hill Farm, in Hevingham, near Halesworth, which was selling rape seed cooking oil.

Sam Fairs, from the farm, said: "She was asking about the rape seed and how it was produced and saying that she had seen so much in the countryside that we had to do something with it."

Richard Somerville, from the wine makers Frog's Alley on the Shotley Peninsula, said: "She looked like she was enjoying herself and we gave her a bottle. She said that she would save it for her husband.

"We offered her a taster but she said it would be wasted on her today as she had so much to do."

Robert James, from food and drink promoters and distributors Tastes of Anglia, based in Otley, near Ipswich, said: "We asked her if the Sandringham shop would be interested. She did leave with a brochure so you never know."

Leaving the Food Hall and into the bright sun, the Princess put on her fashionable Oakley sunglasses before visiting a selection of key agricultural trade stands.

Paul Tuckwell, from East Anglian-based P Tuckwell Ltd, was celebrating winning the Best in Show Stand and the Best Trade Stand when the Princess Royal visited.

Mr Tuckwell, part owner of the 50-year-old business, said: "I spoke to her about the business and tractors and the family and that's about it. She was interested in the tractors. She was quite a nice lady and very relaxed."

After meeting some of the senior stewards, the Princess Royal then proceeded to the Grand Ring, where the champions from the Trinity breeds of Suffolk were displayed.

She then visited the Suffolk Roasts – Meals from Fields stand, which has dominated this year's show with its examination of the role the region's farmers play in producing food and contributing to a healthy diet.

Ian Whitehead, from Lane Farm County Foods, in Brundish, said: "She got interested in the local abattoir and how important it is.

"I also told her about the planning permission for the new plant at Eye and she was aware of all the regulations that go with it.

"She was very well informed and very sympathetic towards the case."

Children looked on in stunned silence when the Princess Royal arrived at the Schools Competition tent.

After seeing some papier mache animals and receiving flowers, the Princess spoke to ten-year-old Madison Nunn, from Rosehill Primary School, in Ipswich.

The proud first prize winner showed the Princess her picture and later said: "I was a bit nervous and when she came it was really amazing."

After meeting members of the Suffolk Horse Society including Tom Walne, who had supplied a filly to the Queen, the Princess inspected a cattle line, where one bull seemed eager to meet her close up.

But the Suffolk Show had one more surprise in store, although it could not claim to be a home-made attraction.

The visiting Maasai warriors put on an impromptu display that grabbed her attention while she walked back to her car, creating a memorable end to her trip to Suffolk.

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