Royal Norfolk Show tribute will remember former chief executive John Purling
- Credit: � ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC
A charismatic driving force behind the success of the Royal Norfolk Show will be remembered with a Grand Ring tribute at next week's event.
John Purling, who was chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) for 18 years until his retirement in 2012, died in April at the age of 69.
But his tireless work to improve the promotion of agriculture, the experience of showgoers, and the economic potential of the Norfolk Showground will be honoured when the show returns on June 28 and 29.
The first performance by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery – the show's headline attraction – will be dedicated to Mr Purling, giving organisers and the public the chance to show their appreciation.
Show director Mark Nicholas said it was entirely appropriate that the tribute was given top billing.
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'John was a very well-known and respected figure who, over the course of his wider career, did so much for the agricultural industry, both in Norfolk and further afield,' he said.
'So it is very much fitting that we dedicate our main display attraction in John's memory. It is a suitable way to draw together John's family and friends, and to remember a remarkable man who did so much to develop the Royal Norfolk Show and the Norfolk Showground as a commercial destination.'
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During the tribute, a photograph of Mr Purling will be shown on the Grand Ring's big screen – a new addition to this year's show experience, provided through a partnership between Archant and the RNAA.
Mr Nicholas said all preparations were going well in the countdown to the event.
'We are all set to deliver what is going to be a magnificent show, and a great celebration of Norfolk life,' he said.
'The forecast looks largely dry, with a temperature of about 20 degrees, which makes perfect show weather.
'The build is going well, with the showground being transformed into a mini-town. It is a hive of activity and there is a festival atmosphere developing up there.
'The ticket sales are going well, and all I can say is if people decide to visit this year they are in for a hell of a treat.
'If you analyse the content of the show it is exceptionally strong this year. People are excited about the spectacles we are offering in the Grand Ring. 'The King's Troop are preparing to deploy to Norfolk and the Showstoppers choir has been rehearsing very hard. Our livestock numbers are very strong indeed, and have exceeded 2016 in almost all areas. There is a lot of excitement among the people taking part.'
For more information and to buy tickets, see the show website.