Photo gallery: Thousands attend opening day of Eye Show

Rural pastimes, motoring thrills, aerial displays and unusual animal competitions helped kick off the opening day of the Eye Show.

Thousands of people descended on parkland on the Norfolk-Suffolk border today for a packed programme of events, despite the lack of the Red Arrows.

The world-famous aerobatic display team had been due to headline the first day of the historic country show at Palgrave, near Diss, but withdrew from the event following the death of pilot Flt Lt Jon Egging in a crash near Bournemouth last weekend.

The headline act was today replaced by an aerial show from the Yakovlevs display team, which will also perform at the final day of the Eye Show tomorrow.

Organisers also had to cancel their line-up of tribute music acts and were unable to serve alcohol after an administrative error left the showground at Goodrich Park without a licence. The tribute acts were replaced by the Crazy Bears children's roadshow.

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However, Tim Seeley, show director, said there was still a bustling programme and the weather was looking good for the two day event, which draws in around 20,000 people every year.

'We were expecting a slightly different pattern, but with the Red Arrow cancelling it feels like a normal Sunday. There are a lot of things going on and people are in all corners of the showground and there are a lot of smiles on faces.'

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'The Red Arrows are such a fantastic draw, but there are a lot of things at this show for people to see. It is pretty much a new programme to last year. We try and vary the programme and people do not want to see the same thing every time and we still offer good value for money,' he said.

Grand ring entertainment was provided by dancing dogs, racing sheep, performing llamas, motoring stunts and a parachute display from The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment's Parachute team. Part of the showground was taken back to medieval times with combat demonstrations.

The Eye Show has raised more than �200,000 for local charities and good causes over the last 15 years.

And Mr Seeley added: 'It is an important show for us to make sure we achieve what we try to do and help local charities. We lost money last year because of the wet weather and we are hoping for a good day on Monday.'

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