Aylsham Show to go on - without sheep

Organisers of the Aylsham show have said the prestigious event should still draw large crowds even though foot-and-mouth restrictions are stopping sheep, cattle and goats from taking part.

Organisers of the Aylsham show have said the prestigious event should still draw large crowds even though foot-and-mouth restrictions are stopping sheep, cattle and goats from taking part.

Co-ordinators of the forthcoming Bank Holiday Monday show have decided that the livestock classes, a main part of the show, will not go on display for the first time in the event's 61-year history.

It was hoped that travel restrictions on the animals would have been lifted by now following the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Pirbright, Surrey, on August 3, but no news was received in time about lifting the transport ban.

Despite the setback, people behind the celebration of the countryside say there will be plenty of attractions for the estimated 15,000 visitors to enjoy, including terrier racing, tug of war, horse and pony shows, motorcycle stunts and a display of Roman chariots.


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Show secretary Chris Self said: "We are all very, very disappointed that the livestock will not feature at this year's show.

"Because the restrictions are still in place, we had to make the conscious and hard decision to go ahead with the show without sheep, cattle and goats for the first time in our history."

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After much initial debate about cancelling the whole show, the organisers of the popular end-of-season farming gathering have pledged the event will not be hampered by the lack of more than 400-head of live stock.

Mr Self said: "The main message we want to get out is that there are plenty of things for families to see and enjoy and I am sure it will be a great success."

In 2001 the whole of the Aylsham Show had to be cancelled because of the foot-and-mouth crisis. Last year's show raised a record £40,000 for 40 local charities.

During this year's show, Conservative peer Baroness Byford will be launching the first ever Year of Food and Farming in Education campaign, which hopes to improve links between the farming and countryside residents.

She will also be judging the four entrants in shows' food hero competition - Farm to Fork, Pointen Brothers, Ellie Betts and the Samphire Food Shop.

The Aylsham Show at Blickling Park is on Monday, August 27. Gates open at 8am, with the main ring attractions starting at noon. Tickets cost £10 on the day with children under-16 and parking for free. For more information, visit www.aylshamshow.co.uk.

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