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WATCH: Farming fun brings crowds of eager youngsters to the 20th Norfolk Spring Fling

Rebecca Burnham from Church Farm with her cheeky lamb at Spring Fling. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Rebecca Burnham from Church Farm with her cheeky lamb at Spring Fling. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

Hundreds of eager children rode tractors, fed newborn lambs and watched dancing sheep as a springtime celebration of farming fun marked its 20th anniversary.

Steve Worley, Natalie Clement and their son Max from North Cove near Beccles, enjoying Spring Fling at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Neil DidsburySteve Worley, Natalie Clement and their son Max from North Cove near Beccles, enjoying Spring Fling at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The Norfolk Spring Fling, first held in April 2000 to connect children under 12 with the county’s agricultural heritage, now welcomes more than 5,000 visitors to the Norfolk Showground each year.

Organisers said this year’s event was the biggest ever, featuring more than 70 stands, activities and experiences including rare breeds and exotic animals, heavy horse and bird of prey displays, scientific experiments, sausage and ice cream making, sheepdog displays and the ever-popular dancing sheep in the Sheep Show.

Queues of families lined up to take a tractor and trailer ride around the showground to see the spring’s new arrivals, and helped to bottle-feed Southdown lambs in Mr Mawkin’s Farm.

New attractions for 2019 included a farmers’ market showcasing food grown on Norfolk farms, and there was also a chance for children to make a recycled plant pot and sow a runner bean to take home in the new Plant and Grow Zone.

Elise Russen, 13, Amber Russen, 11 and Eva Russen, 7 loved meeting the goats at this years Spring Fling. Picture: Neil DidsburyElise Russen, 13, Amber Russen, 11 and Eva Russen, 7 loved meeting the goats at this years Spring Fling. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Tony Bellinger is education manager for the Food and Farming Discovery Trust, which works with event organisers at the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA). He said the event had grown into an important education tool to inspire youngsters to learn about food, farming and the countryside which surrounds them.

He said: “A lot of these families won’t have engaged with farming before so this is a great introduction for them.

“It is about giving children knowledge – when they are looking out their window and see a tractor going by, we want them to know why that is happening, to know where their food comes from, so when they are in Tesco they can make better choices about what they are eating.”

Among the visitors was Steve Worley with his partner Natalie Clement and their two-year-old son Max from North Coves near Beccles.

Mary Blackie from Norwich and District Goat Club at the Spring Fling event at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Neil DidsburyMary Blackie from Norwich and District Goat Club at the Spring Fling event at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Neil Didsbury

He said: “It is great. Max can sit in a tractor or get up close with the animals. We live in the countryside but it is never that accessible, so coming here is great for him.”

It was thirsty work walking around Spring Fling at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Neil DidsburyIt was thirsty work walking around Spring Fling at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Youngsters at the Spring Fling keenly watch a farrier in action. Picture: Neil DidsburyYoungsters at the Spring Fling keenly watch a farrier in action. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Alexander Jeffrey, 3 enjoyed meeting firefighters from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service at Spring Fling. Picture: Neil DidsburyAlexander Jeffrey, 3 enjoyed meeting firefighters from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service at Spring Fling. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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