Visitors' birds-eye view of flower show

SUE SKINNER Visitors will be able to enjoy a bird's-eye view of one of Norfolk's most historic events for the first time this year.


Visitors will be able to enjoy a bird's-eye view of one of Norfolk's most popular events for the first time this year.

A wide-ranging package of attractions has been lined up for the Sandringham Flower Show on Wednesday, July 25.

New for 2007 are hot-air balloon rides which, weather permitting, will provide a lofty vantage point to see the showground and the Queen's private country home.

As part of our continuing association with the show, the EDP will run a contest to win a balloon flight with a hamper and champagne. We will also sponsor a new award for the best stand by a nursery in the horticultural display mar-quee, in addition to the best-in-show trophy for the show gardens competition and the prize for the best exhibit by a gardening club or society.

Preparations for the show are already well advanced, with top TV gardener Chris Beardshaw lined up to appear for the fourth year running and the main arena programme set to include the Chariots of Fire display team, Bob Hogg's sheepdogs and ducks, the Band of the Parachute Regiment and the Sandringham Grand Prix with customised lawnmowers.

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Other attractions will include the flower, fruit and vegetable classes, show gar-dens, displays by nurseries, more than 200 trade and horticultural stands, talks by experts and gardeners' questions, a Victorian steam fairground, crafts, including a marquee dedicated to rural skills, charity stalls and music from the Springwood High School Band.

For many, the highlight will be the anticipated tour of the show by patron the Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

"Everything is in hand," said chairman David Reeve. "The bulk of planning starts in and around the previous year for the next show.

"By Christmas we are looking to have all that in place - and we have, and from this point onwards it's just tweaking everything."

The 2005 show had a good attendance, despite a forecast of dire weather which largely failed to materialise.

Last year's sweltering conditions could hardly have provided a starker contrast, yet a crowd of around 18,500 braved the heat and a record £27,000 was made for local causes, bringing the total amount raised for charity to nearly £370,000 since 1977.

Mr Reeve said: "We have survived two years of very different conditions. Add to that the perfect conditions and each time the show has come through. That all comes down to a good recipe."