A tremendous Aylsham Show marked its 70th anniversary in style as thousands flocked to the bank holiday spectacular.

And David Hitcham, treasurer of the Aylsham Agricultural Show Association, reported that a healthy surplus has been made.

It had more than made up for the two previous years of losses when the association’s reserves were depleted by about £32,000, he added.

It was also a vast relief that the show was such a great success after the heavy losses in the past two years said the president, Simon Evans, who is also chairman of the association’s council. He thanked the many thousands of visitors from across Norfolk, as a crowd estimated at more 18,000 visitors had clearly enjoyed the one-day show. Mr Evans said that show organisers would re-double efforts to improve access to the showground at next year’s event. He recognised that there had been some problems and traffic congestion.

Even one of his office colleagues and her family had been delayed in the heavy volume of traffic through Aylsham and towards the Blickling Park showground.

Discussions on possible improvements for vehicle access with the showground’s landlord, the National Trust, would be a high priority, he told the 30 members of the ruling council.

It might also be possible to improve the traffic flow with more flexible use of other approach roads to the showground, he said.

A suggestion of encouraging more visitors to arrive by bike was enthusiastically supported. A new secure enclosure for cyclists would be investigated as a further priority.

Mr Hitcham said that the association would be able to make a reasonable distribution early next year at the annual meeting in January once the final figures had been agreed.

However at this stage, he was not able to make a firm recommendation but stressed that the association must aim to build up a prudent financial reserve – given that it cost in the region of at least £150,000 to stage the annual show.

Mr Evans said that arrangements were in hand for the show administration following the retirement of the long-serving secretary, Chris Self and assistant secretary his wife Ann. There would be further discussions at the next meeting of the executive committee on October 18.

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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