Visitors flock to South Suffolk Show

THE curtain-raiser for East Anglia's agricultural show season was blessed with glorious sunshine which brought visitors and competitors flocking to the annual favourite.

James Mortlock

THE curtain-raiser for East Anglia's agricultural show season was blessed with glorious sunshine which brought visitors and competitors flocking to the annual favourite.

This year's South Suffolk Show was held yesterday at Ampton Racecourse, near Bury St Edmunds, and the clear skies and soaring temperatures were in marked contrast to the dismal weather which put a damper on last year's event.

Organiser Geoff Bailes, secretary of the South Suffolk Agricultural Association - which is behind the annual favourite, said the sunshine had made all the difference: “It couldn't be more different to last year - the weather has made a tremendous difference - everything just looks so well.”

He said contingency plans were fully in place and the showground layout had been altered to make any rain less of a headache but in the end the weather was kind and spectators and livestock and horse entries flocked to the event from across Suffolk and Britain.

Mr Bailes admitted that sunshine was crucial to such events: “The weather is the main thing - as always with agricultural shows. It just enhances an already lovely atmosphere.”

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He said the standard and quantity of entries - more than 800 horses and 250 livestock including pigs, sheep, and cattle - was also better than expected: “The standard of entries this year has been very, very good.

“We had fears that there may have been problems with bluetongue but our livestock classes this year have produced some very good stock which has been hugely appreciated by the judges.

“And the association would like to thank all the livestock and horse exhibitors who have supported the show by bringing the animals of the eastern region to the wider public.”

The secretary said the intimacy of the South Suffolk Show, which is supported by the EADT, was a contrast to the vast Suffolk Show, which will be held at the end of the month in Ipswich, and he said the organisers strived to keep the country feel to the event which he has been putting together for almost 20 years.

He said it was too early to say exactly how many people had visited the show but the event regularly attracts 10,000 visitors and he hoped the weather would push the figure to nearer 12,000.

As well as livestock in prime condition, cowboy displays and dog agility tests, the show boasted the UK's number one motorcycle display, the Bolddog Lings Freestyle Team, whose top-ranked motocross riders performed heart-stopping tricks in the grand ring.

Entertaining displays were also put on by the Stallions of Substance Display Team as well as ever-popular horse shows, a parade of hounds and a modern machinery display featuring heavy and light agricultural equipment.

Falconry demonstrations and a diverse range of stalls were also laid on.

For a full list of South Suffolk Show competition results see tomorrow's EADT.

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