Organisers intend to stage a big 70th celebration this year, said the newly-elected president of Aylsham Show.

Simon Evans, who took over at the Aylsham Agricultural Show Association’s annual meeting, said that a special anniversary dinner would also be held in June.

And plans were already taking shape for Norfolk ’s biggest-one day show on August Bank Holiday Monday, said Mr Evans, who was also re-elected chairman of the association’s council.

The long-serving secretary, Christopher Self, told members that he would be retiring after his 40th show. And his wife, Ann, who has been assistant show secretary for more than 30 years, would also be standing down.

Although the financial results of last summer’s show were hit by the disastrous weather, show organisers remain optimistic that the association’s fortunes can be reversed.

David Hitcham, the association’s treasurer, said that prudent reserves of more than £71,000 had been set aside over many years, which would enable the organisers to stage an even bigger and better show. “We’ve had two wet years and 37 dry shows in my time,” he added.

A loss on the year of more than £25,000 was reported – on top of a £6,000 loss in 2014 – and as a result, the association would not make any donations to good causes and local charities, he said. Over the past eight years, the association had made a surplus of more than £216,000 and been able to distribute tens of thousands to local good causes, charities and community groups. The association was founded in 1946, partly to raise funds for the town’s recreation ground.

Retiring show president Tony Bambridge, of Park Farm, Blickling, said that the weather had obviously reduced gate receipts. However, he thanked “the loyal army of supporters who turned out for what was a memorable show.”

Hundreds of exhibitors, trade stands, livestock competitors, show stewards and members of the public attended despite the weather as rain fell from almost 6am to 6pm, he said.

Mr Bambridge and members of farm staff were also thanked for helping so many visitors to leave the showground as parts of BlicklingPark became a mudbath. Efforts to restore the parkland were also much appreciated, said retiring secretary Mr Self.

Members, who met at the Aylsham Lodge Hotel, elected John Wootten, of Aylsham, former head steward for showground lay-out, as president-elect.

Mr Evans, who was elected president, was grand ring commentator for more than 10 years, and also long-serving chairman of council.

An anniversary, black tie dinner, would be held at the North Repps Cottage on Friday, June 10. Details would be sent to members.

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.
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