‘12 months of work taken from your grasp’ - organisers’ heartbreak over cancelled Sandringham Flower Show
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 July 2020
It had only ever been cancelled during the war and when Prince Charles married Diana.
Thousands would have flocked to Sandringham Park, on the ground of the Queen’s country retreat, for the 139th Sandringham Flower Show today, but the popular event was cancelled due to the coronavirus.
The show, which is considered to be one of the most prestigious horticultural events in the East of England, is attended each year by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The couple arrive by horse drawn carriage and spend the day touring marquees and displays, greeting show-goers and exhibitors.
David Reeve, show chairman, said: “It was disappointing for us because at the point of cancelling the show most of the arrangements had been put in place.
“But we enjoy the work because it’s a very nice event and helps support lots of different charities, so the greatest disappointment is being unable to assist all those deserving causes.
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“We’ve only missed the wartime years and the Prince of Wales’ marriage to Diana.”
The chairman, who has been working on the show for around 30 years, said the cancellation had been tough for all those involved, particularly for the hundreds of exhibitors who rely on these shows for income.
He added: “We took lots of bookings in advance and have lost money as well, quite frankly many of these people we’ve had to call off our contracts with has meant we have incurred some costs even with cancellation.
“We’re also concerned for the number of people who exhibit on our show.
“Many of our exhibitors, and there’s over 200 of them, travel from show to show and that is their living, that is their income and I’m sure when show after show is cancelled, even as far as Chelsea and the Royal Norfolk Show, it’s difficult... It would have been a real buzz, 12 months of work is taken from your grasp.”
He added: “It’s not just a show, it’s a big family and social event. So it’s a great loss.”
But despite the disappointment, Mr Reeve added the committee are already looking ahead to next year’s event, with volunteers able to plan more in advance than they would normally at this stage.
Since 1977 the show committee have donated more than £500,000 to local charities.
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