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Rain-hit Royal Norfolk Show income fell by £130,000 in 2017, say organisers

PUBLISHED: 15:59 19 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:59 19 April 2018

Royal Norfolk Show 2017, day one. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Royal Norfolk Show 2017, day one. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Downpours of rain forced a £130,000 drop in income from last summer’s Royal Norfolk Show – but cost-cutting measures and other revenues helped limit the organisers’ financial losses.

Royal Norfolk Show 2017. Jeremy and Sarah Wales with their children Barnaby, 8, and Suki, 12. Picture : ANTONY KELLYRoyal Norfolk Show 2017. Jeremy and Sarah Wales with their children Barnaby, 8, and Suki, 12. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The event’s vulnerability to the weather was outlined in the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association’s (RNAA’s) annual accounts, which were presented at the organisation’s AGM at the Norfolk Showground.

Attendance fell from an expected 80,000 to 73,000 for the two-day show in June, damaging the income from ticket sales and car parking. But those losses were balanced against a 13pc rise in revenue from other commercial and entertainment events at the Costessey showground, bringing the RNAA’s overall income for 2017 to £2,295,120.

Meanwhile, finance director Grant Pilcher said costs were cut by £170,000, leaving the association with an overall deficit for the year of £28,000 – a significant improvement on the £133,000 deficit posted in 2016.

“We carried out a lot of work to balance the books and a programme of cost-cutting to make sure that deficits were a thing of the past,” he said. “But it was, again, a Royal Norfolk Show significantly affected by extreme weather, alongside a continuing trend of falling numbers of attendees at most shows across the country.

“As a result of the 2016 deficit we had a root and branch review of all our costs and as result we were able to contain the deficit at much smaller number than it would otherwise have been. Our deficit can be traced entirely to the low attendance figures. It is disappointing, but we remain in good heart and we remain financially viable.”

RNAA chairman Sir Nicholas Bacon said the show continued to enjoy “terrific support” from trade stands and commercial sponsors, but the additional trading activities and events at the showground had become “vital” to ensure the association’s future success.

“The RNAA is more than just the show. It is the over-arching supporter of agriculture in Norfolk,” he said.

“We need to keep the show, the showground and the RNAA in rude financial health. In recent years, the show has not been a provider of surplus. It has been a provider of loss. So, going forward, it is really important we have other forms of income other than the show.”

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