Town prepares for agricultural show

AS the anguish and the restrictions of the foot and mouth epidemic two years ago recede visitors to this year's 164th Hadleigh Show will see a return to normal in many of the show's traditional elements.

AS the anguish and the restrictions of the foot and mouth epidemic two years ago recede visitors to this year's 164th Hadleigh Show will see a return to normal in many of the show's traditional elements.

Last year, while restrictions were still in place, there were no sheep or goats, cattle had to be kept in a special area and that meant the usual finale to the day's events, the grand parade of prize-winners in the main ring, also could not take place.

Despite all that, the first show after the epidemic had cancelled all agricultural shows the previous year, saw a record number of visitors.

The organisers will be hoping that this year, with sheep and goats back in the competition classes and the grand parade reinstated, they will be able to push the visitor figures up even further.


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The show is always held in the grounds of Holbecks Hall, the home of the late Sir Joshua Rowley.

His daughter Mrs Emily Holden has inherited her father's title as the show's honorary president as well as the task of presenting all the cups and rosettes at the grand parade.

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Before the grand parade the main attraction in the Grand Ring will be the Kangaroo Kid, Matt Coulter, from Combs, who does motorbike and quad bike stunts.

Also as ever, the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds, as well as the bloodhounds and beagles, will be in the ring, a feature eagerly looked forward to by the children who visit the show.

Local organisations, craft stalls and demonstrations, a food hall featuring local products, an art show and a flower show, will be in booths and marquees surrounding the main ring and Bert Stocks' fun fair will be close by.

Show director, arable farmer Martin Pratt, said there were still some restrictions to contend with, not least a new six-day movement rule imposed by Defra.

The rule means that any animals exhibited at a show must then be kept in isolation on their home farms for six days before they can be taken out again and this has meant that some farmers exhibiting at the South Suffolk Show the previous Sunday will not be able to come to Hadleigh on May 17.

But he said, space for stands had been over-subscribed and some had to be turned away, proving that this small, traditional agricultural show is still a favourite with farmers, exhibitors and visitors alike.

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