71,000 people flocked to enjoy the spectacle of the 47th South of England Show at the South of England Showground in Ardingly on 5-7 June 2014. The largest agricultural show in the region was declared a great success by organisers with numbers up 3,000 on last year.
The Princess Royal was warmly welcomed by crowds, presenting rosettes to carriage drivers from the Riding for the Disabled Association and visiting growing displays in the Wildlife, Farming and Forestry area and the Horticulture Marquee. She then attended the AGM of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth, which was hosted at the show.
On the opening day of the show, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson MP was well received by 150 farmers, pledging that he would put agriculture at the forefront of government policy and saying he was committed to growing UK food exports.
The three-day event showcased the best of agriculture and farming across the South East, with superb displays covering every aspect of country life, supported by continuous arena action in the show’s four rings.
In celebration of the Year of Horticulture, the Flower Marquee was in full bloom with some stunning displays including nine windows of horticulture demonstrating the best from specialists across the region.
Dozens of Primary Schools were asked to celebrate the Year of Horticulture theme by producing the most unusual planter, the most dazzling display or the most creative use of plants and they fulfilled the criteria with some wonderful colourful creations in the Knowledge Box.
Visitors enjoyed seeing the Young Craftsman of the Year Competition exhibition and 17-year-old Thomas Streeter from The Weald Sixth Form College in East Sussex was presented with first prize by Lord Egremont, this year’s President of the South of England Agricultural Society, for his beautifully turned wood pieces.
World class stuntmen The Kangaroo Kids made their debut at the show, wowing crowds with dare devil leaps and tricks on quad bikes. With fun for all the family, highlights at the Show this year included the micro-sized Shetland Pony Grand National, heavy horse turnouts, show jumping, Fur & Feather displays with dozens of breeds of chickens and rabbits and the famous livestock display, including many breeds of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats.
The Show is the flagship annual event organised by the South of England Agricultural Society, which is a charity promoting education about the countryside. CEO Iain Nicol said, “I want to pay tribute to and thank the 2,000 plus volunteers who put so much energy and enthusiasm into making this event possible and to all our exhibitors for their hard work and support in helping us make this such a special show.”
Twenty organisers of agricultural shows from across the United States also visited and enjoyed the event, describing it as offering a true taste of British rural life.
Join us at our next show, the Autumn Show & Game Fair on 4th & 5th October.