Sandringham Flower Show preview

SUE SKINNER A winning combination of attractions traditional and modern is being lined up for visitors to one of Norfolk's most popular events in the summer. Preparations are in full swing for the annual Sandringham Flower Show, which is again being held in association with the EDP.

SUE SKINNER

A winning combination of attractions traditional and modern is being lined up for visitors to one of Norfolk's most popular events in the summer.

Preparations are in full swing for the annual Sandringham Flower Show, which is again being held in association with the EDP. This year's event will take place on Wednesday July 26.

The show, set against the backdrop of the Queen's private residence at Sandringham House, has long been a favourite with the Royal Family, and there are hopes that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will make their customary appearance.


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The couple had been married for only a few months when they toured the showground last year, chatting to dozens of well-wishers during a two-hour walkabout.

Top TV gardening presenter Chris Beardshaw will be attending for the third year running to join fellow horti-cultural expert Alan Mason in judging the show gardens, which have attracted an enthusiastic following since their introduction in 2004.

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He will also give a talk and take part in a gardeners' forum, another now well-established attraction.

The gardens competition will again involve eight entrants creating individually-designed plots and vying for the Eastern Daily Press Best in Show trophy.

This year's main arena activities will see the return - by public demand - of the Utterly Butterly Barn-stormers, the wing-walking team that appeared at the show in 2004, plus medieval jousting, a dog team display, the Minden Band of the Queen's Division and the annual Sandringham Grand Prix with customised lawn-mowers.

More than 200 trade and horticultural stands will be at the show, as well as charity stalls and a craft marquee.

Despite the innovations of the past few years, the historic elements to which the show owes its origins remain in the flower, fruit, vegetable and floral classes for people living on the royal estate, and open amateur classes.

There will also be displays by local gardening clubs and societies in the royal marquee.

What began as a village show more than a century ago is now a national institution, which has raised £330,000 for good causes. Last year's event was hailed another resound-ing success, despite a dire weather forecast and rain on the day.

“We survived a major test because, while we don't know how many had kept away, we still had a hugely successful show and a really good attendance,” said show chairman David Reeve.

“I think you have to be judged by people's reactions and the attendance. We can't be doing much wrong at the end of the day. It's a proven, well-established show.”

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