On the eve of our 70th annual show, we had to call it off because of the dangerously high winds forecast for show day. We’ve never previously cancelled because of the weather. Are better weather forecasts now available? Climate change? Too much anxiety about Health and Safety? How did we decide to cancel?
Steve Thompson, Show Chairman, explains: “What a shame. Like anybody organising an outdoor event, we’d been keeping a close eye on the weather for show week. But, by the time we reached Thursday 8th, there was a yellow weather warning. Direct conversations with the Met. Office predicted a windspeed at which marquees and other temporary structures are unsafe to be around – well above the industry’s guidelines. So we had no choice. The safety of all involved, human and animals, must always come first. We put out messages on Facebook and our website. And on Friday, did radio and TV interviews to make sure that we moved the news around as fast as we could.
“A sad moment for all our fantastic volunteers – and of course also our members, our would-be competitors, our exhibitors, sponsors, key suppliers – not to mention visitors, many of whom have been coming for years. But, you know, perhaps the saddest part of this is that this year, we won’t be able to make donations to charities. Last year we gave away over £30,000. But not in 2019.
“But we’ll be back in 2020 – the team is dedicated, passionate and determined to bounce back. We’re already looking forward to opening the gates on Saturday 8th 2020. We’re doing everything we can to mitigate our financial losses: what an inspiration to see our caterers switch from the showground to the pop-up lunch they staged at Greyfriars Community Centre with the food that would otherwise have gone to waste. Plus we have been hugely encouraged by literally hundreds of messages of support, including the Romsey Show, who have very kindly invited our members to enjoy their show facilities on September 14th at Broadlands – what a kind thought.
“We look forward to welcoming everybody back in 2020.”