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‘We are hugely disappointed’ - Hadleigh Show called off due to coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 09:17 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:57 19 March 2020

Holly Lutkin in Hadleigh Show's grand parade 2019 with Imogen  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Holly Lutkin in Hadleigh Show's grand parade 2019 with Imogen Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A series of farmer-run events in Suffolk – including the Hadleigh Show and the School Farm and Country Fair – have joined the Suffolk Show in being cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Thousands of visitors enjoyed the Hadleigh Show  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThousands of visitors enjoyed the Hadleigh Show Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Organisers expressed sadness as the 181st Hadleigh Show, planned for May 16, became the latest casualty after this year’s event was called off.

Tory Lugsden, Hadleigh Farmers Agricultural Association (HFAA) secretary, said: “It is with great regret that the committee of the Hadleigh Farmers Agricultural Association, and the organisers of the Hadleigh Show, have to announce that the 181st Hadleigh Show, due to take place on May 16, 2020, is cancelled.

MORE – Suffolk Show cancelled ‘with great sadness’ due to coronavirus

“The organising committee feel that it would be irresponsible of us to encourage people into large gatherings until the threat of COVID-19 is under control and manageable.

“We are obviously hugely disappointed not to be able to showcase agriculture, rural activities and put on a lovely day out for our incredible supporters but we feel in the current situation this is unavoidable.”

Donkeys in the grand parade at the Hadleigh Show  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDonkeys in the grand parade at the Hadleigh Show Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Organisers are now working closely with our exhibitors, trade stand holders, sponsors and visitors following the announcement.

Farmers will then begin planning in earnest for Hadleigh Show 2021 on May 15.

Meanwhile, Suffolk Show organisers the Suffolk Agricultural Association has decided to postpone its event for schoolchildren in the run-up to the main event.

The School Farm and Country Fair was due to be held on Thursday, April 23, at Trinity Park, Ipswich, but the date has now been moved to September.

Ben Ketley in the young handlers class at Hadleigh Show 2019 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNBen Ketley in the young handlers class at Hadleigh Show 2019 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“We will be following future government guidelines and advice in the months to come but our plan is to hold the event on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, if the situation permits,” a spokeswoman said.

“We will be liaising with all schools, exhibitors, sponsors and stewards to communicate this message.”

Deben Farm Club has postponed its 68th annual general meeting. The event was due to be held at Ufford Park Hotel, Melton, on March 26 but has now been put off until further notice.

Celebrations to mark NFU Suffolk’s centenary will have to wait a little longer after a lunch due to be held in April was postponed until November at a date to be confirmed.

Enjoying an ice cream at the Hadleigh Show in 2019  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNEnjoying an ice cream at the Hadleigh Show in 2019 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Up to 400 NFU members, present and former staff and other invited guests were due to join NFU president Minette Batters at Trinity Park, Ipswich, for the special event on Friday, April 24, commemorating the first 100 years of the county branch.

NFU Suffolk county adviser Charles Hesketh said: “It’s disappointing that the celebrations are being delayed but at least we now have more time to plan an even bigger and better event. NFU Suffolk was founded in November 1920 so it will also be an appropriate time to hold this landmark occasion.”

The lunch is likely to be combined with NFU Suffolk’s annual county meeting.

Research through the NFU archives by Suffolk Record Office shows that a county branch was formed in March 1913, but it only covered west Suffolk. Farmers in East Suffolk joined forces to establish a branch in February 1919, and East and West Suffolk agreed to amalgamate at a farmer meeting held in Ipswich on November 30, 1920.

David Black was the first county branch chairman and NFU offices opened in Ipswich on March 7, 1921, in Princes Street.

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