Retiring president Simon Evans thanked members, supporters, exhibitors and volunteers for their efforts in the association’s 70th year.

The year began on a serious note after recording a substantial loss but those visiting the 2015 show had a thoroughly good time.

Mr Evans said that again pre-show competitions were a success. Congratulations to Norfolk Quail Ltd, of Great Ryburgh, in the Norfolk Hero Food and Drink Competition and to the individual food hero, Catherine Temple, of Wighton, near Wells.

Thank you to Jacinth Rogers and the Food Hero Team for the organisation and next month, the 2017 competition will be launched.

The Norfolk County Farm Business competition was won by James Chapman and partners, of Martham. We enjoyed a great tour of the award-winning farm enterprise – thank you. And well done to Roger Combe, of the Bayfield estate, for winning the conservation award. Again, thanks to Robert Mitchell, his committee and the judges and stewards for such a well organised competition.

The day at Fakenham races was another “lovely and enjoyable day.” Thanks to members and sponsors and the organisers, Marian Williams and David Hitcham.

A celebration of June 10, 1946 – the 70th anniversary of the association – featured a dinner, with song and music at North Repps Country Cottage. It included great singing from guest soprano Jayne Jones and rising young star from Little Barningham Olivia Watson. Thanks to Michael Pollitt and Paul Corfield for their help.

And next the big weekend. “Never have I taken so much interest in a weather forecast! But the weather was perfect and the team, including Tim Elwes and vice president John Wootten had ideal conditions for setting the stage.

The pre-show dinner dance was one of the biggest hits as months of planning by Jo Coxford came together in spectacular fashion. A presentation anniversary cake provided by Graves, also celebrating their 70th year in business, was most appropriate. The donation of a diamond raised nearly £2500 to add to the evening’s surplus of £10,000.

Reepham Rotary Club’s art show preview and showjumping under Sue Peasley’s added to the sense of expectation for Monday.

Monday, August 29, 2016 – What an amazing day with near clear skies and gentle breeze. “I was treated to a tour of the showground with Karen by president’s steward Mark Little.” During the early morning tour of the cattle, sheep and goats. I think Mark had a harder one prising me away from each section in order to keep me on schedule.

“I met so many wonderful people on the day, those who take control of organising specific areas as head stewards together with stewards, helpers and exhibitors without whom such a spectacle could not be put on and shared with our visitors.”

By mid-morning, thousands of visitors were flocking around the cash trading stalls, livestock judging rings, enjoying the horse classes, flower exhibition, countryside area and trade stands.

The organisers were determined to put on a great show. “I am delighted that all involved rose to the challenge and provided a wonderful day’s entertainment – all kept safe with the help of our health and safety officer Rob Lewis.”

The food and farming marquee with its educational area including the show history and a second year of the Show Stopper Beer competition organised by team Corfield was another success. The food marquee even ran out of stock as so many visitors arrived and the cookery theatre organised by Kit Papworth and Caroline Culot goes from strength to strength. The whole area looked after so ably by Clare Buxton.

Finally I would pay tribute to Simon Greenfield and Marian Williams. Simon does his very best to control traffic movements onto the showground which is very challenging when all the stars align to make Aylsham Show the most popular place to be in North Norfolk on Bank Holiday Monday while Marian sees everyone through the gates in an organised fashion.

“It was an honour and privilege not only to be a part of the team putting this year’s show together but as president to be in a position to see and enjoy what a wonderful show we have resulting this year in a very appropriate surplus of £70,000 in our 70th year.” .

So thank you members for your support, it makes the show what it is and enables us to go forward into our 71st year in good health.

Simon Evans

Aylsham Agricultural Show President 2016

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