The country’s best one-day agricultural show in the grounds of Blickling Park saw gate receipts halved as the August bank holiday weather took its toll.

David Hitcham, who is the long-serving treasurer of the Aylsham Agricultural Show Association, reported a loss of £6,011 at the annual meeting.

“We had tremendous support ahead of the show across the board but the weather was against us,” he said. For example, gate receipts fell by almost half to £56,591..

Christopher Self, secretary, said that as a result it had not been possible this year to make grants and awards to local groups, charities and good causes. Over the years, the association has handed out hundreds of thousands from surpluses made at the annual one-day show. “When we’ve made a surplus, we’ve always aimed to distribute as much as we could,” he added.

“It has been the most disappointing result in my 39 years’ of involvement with the show,” he said.

Mr Hitcham, who said that the association’s reserves remained strong, proposed that it should increase the total financial cushion by about a quarter to £100,000 over the next five years. It cost more than £160,000 to stage the show, he said.

Retiring show president Phillida Hurn said that she had thoroughly enjoyed her year of office. “The Aylsham Show is probably one of the best if not the best one-day agricultural show in the country,” she said.

And the return of the show jumping classes on the eve of the show had been a great success, said Mrs Hurn, who welcomed about 30 members to the annual meeting at the Aylsham Lodge Hotel.

She thanked all the stewards and those who helped to stage so many other competitions and events through the year including the highly-successful Norfolk Hero Food and Drink Awards and the long-running Norfolk County farm business competition.

A leading Norfolk farmer and specialist potato grower, Tony Bambridge, of Park Farm, Blickling, was elected president. A cattle exhibitor and the former health and safety steward at the show, Mr Bambridge, who is Norfolk’s National Farmers’ Union’s county delegate, also thanked the retiring president for spending so much time on the association’s business.

Simon Evans, chairman of council for the past 12 years, and grand ring commentator for 23 years, was elected vice-president.

Mr Self, who said that as this would be his 39th year with the association, urged the council to start thinking about succession. His wife, Ann, was re-elected as assistant secretary.

Members also elected Michael Pollitt, the former agricultural editor of the EDP, as live vice-president in recognition of his contribution to the association over the past four decades.

Three council members were elected, Mrs Hurn, Alexandra Haswell, of Ranworth, and Charlotte Gurney, of Whitehouse Farm pick your own, Sprowston.

John Wootten President of Aylsham Show 2017
Aylsham Show President I am very pleased and honoured to be President of the Aylsham Show in 2017. We moved to Aylsham in 1978, but as a ship’s captain, my job took me abroad for several years. In 1982 my wife’s uncle, John Thornton, then local director of Barclays Bank was President of the Show and he persuaded me to get involved. When illness forced me to retire from the sea, I became Assistant Showground Director to Tom Elwes for several years until 1992. After some years building up Eastern Events, in 2010 I took over as Show Director from Jamie Jamieson. My grandfather farmed at Horsham St Faith and I like to think that he may have visited the show in its formative years. My wife Charlotte certainly competed at the Show in the 1960’s, majoring on the gymkhana. Up until the end of last year I was a director of Revival Productions who have staged very successful concerts in Blickling Park for the past 5 years. All of us who work for the Show have special moments. As Show Director I was always on site by 5 am – a magical time with the mist rising and everything just stirring. The stockmen are washing down their cattle, and sheep are calling to one another. But soon it is all go and you look at your watch and discover it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon before you know it. One of the things I will really enjoy as President is actually being able to see the Show and to meet and thank all the people who make it such a success. The Show is a fantastic organisation where people give their time and energy to raise money for local charities and I am very proud to be a part of it and to be President in 2017.
Latest Tweets
Check out our Facebook Page

Check out our Facebook Page