VIDEO: Preview to the Royal Norfolk Show

The finishing touches are tonight being made as tens of thousands of people prepare to flock to the 2011 Royal Norfolk Show.

After the Costessey showground sweltered in 30C heat on Monday, the conditions were much more comfortable as army of workers was erecting the hundreds of stands, marquees and displays ahead of the event tomorrow and Thursday.

Heavy rain fell on the showground during the afternoon and there was also thunder and lightning - but nothing like the torrential downpours in some other parts of the county.

Radio Norfolk had to take their transmitter down due to fears about it being struck by lightning.

Brasteds reported that their marquee suffered some flooding and those who had left setting up until the last minute had a few problems coping with the heavy shower.

But a Royal Norfolk Show spokesman said there had not been any major difficulties and the car parks appeared to be fine and the forecast is good for the first day.

It is due to be mainly fine during the day with temperatures of around 20C.

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'It is due to be warm but not too hot and it should be a great day for everyone,' she said.

Nicky Barnes, one of the producers for the BBC Radio Royal Norfolk Show coverage, said they had taken the transmitter down as a precaution due to the lightning.

It is the fourth year that the station has done a special series of programmes live from the show.

They will have a series of guests on through both days as well as broadcasting live from the grand ring and also Treasure Quest presenter Becky Betts will be dashing around the showground.

Martyn Flint, of Chrysanthemums Direct, was busy setting out their stunning flowers for a third appearance at the show.

He said: 'The dry spell we had hasn't affected us too much because everything is grown under cover. The high temperatures early on in the year did slow thing up and made a bit of a difference but we've managed to come through it all right.'

Show manager Sarah de Chair said preparations were being finalised for the event, and she is particularly looking forward to meeting the Princess Royal for the first time when she visits on Thursday.

She last attended the show in 1990 and Mrs de Chair said it was a big boost to have the royal visitor.

'It was before my time the last time she came when she was president and that will be a great thrill for me. I gather she is a lovely lady and very supportive of anything agricultural.'

Mrs de Chair also highlighted a range of new attractions at the show this year including the working vintage machinery displays, which the princess will look at during her tour.

There is also a new pedestrian gate at the southern end near the Wymondham entrance which will mean a shorter walk.

Mrs de Chair also said extra parking was available and there is also a special offer with First of bus travel and entrance to the show.

Among the varied attractions over the two days are a grand ring programme including the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team – The White Helmets, the RAF Falcons Freefall Parachute Team, scurry driving, in which ponies and carriages race through a course against the clock, and the band of RAF Halton Pipes and Drums.

Cattle entries are likely to hit record levels and entry to the Flower and Garden Show is free this year.

*The EDP/Evening News stand - number 208 in Avenue 7 - has a range of attractions as well as the chance to buy our goody bags.

*Gates open for the show on both days at 8am.

*Patients and carers will be able to talk about any problems they have experienced with health services in the county at the Royal Norfolk Show this week.

The NHS Norfolk Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team will be on hand to talk to people confidentially about any concerns, issues or experiences they have had when visiting doctors, hospitals or accessing other NHS services.

They can also advise on who to talk to about a particular health issue.

Christine Macdonald, manager of NHS Norfolk PALS, said feedback from members of the public helped the team improve local health services.

She added: 'Being a patient or carer can often be a confusing time - but PALS is there to help.

'Most of our enquiries are dealt with over the telephone so being at the show provides us with an excellent opportunity to talk face to face with the public, and to hear about their experiences of the local NHS.

'If you have issues or concerns about NHS services you are receiving, you need further information or advice, or just want to share your personal experiences of using health services, please visit our show stand.'

PALs will be on stand 407 at the Royal Norfolk Show on Wednesday and Thursday.

You can also contact the team Monday to Friday by calling 0800 587 4132 or 07500 990815 or emailing

*Norfolk Rural Community Council is promoting a new initiative at the Royal Norfolk Show to support local businesses and community projects.

Thinking…Local will see Norfolk RCC promote a range of products from local producers with the profits from all sales going to support its ongoing work with communities. The products include local preserves, pickles and honey together with beer, cider and wine.

Jon Clemo, chief executive, said 'This is an excellent way to benefit communities directly as well as raising funds to support our traditional services. We're not sure if the bees crossed over the border but everything else was produced within Norfolk.

'This really is win-win, you get some fantastic local produce and the satisfaction from supporting local communities and businesses.' Items are available separately and as part of a range of gift hampers.

Norfolk RCCC will be at stand 114, avenue 5, near the countryside ring and picnic area.

More information is available on 01362 698216.