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Show a success despite gridlock

PUBLISHED: 16:02 07 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:04 03 March 2010

VISITORS to the Suffolk Show today were hoping their journeys would be smoother than yesterday when reports of two hour tailbacks on roads left people gridlocked.

VISITORS to the Suffolk Show today were hoping their journeys would be smoother than yesterday when reports of two hour tailbacks on roads left people gridlocked.

Motorists were left irate and frustrated after roads in and out of the county's most prestigious event were left jammed.

But the return of the Suffolk Show to the Suffolk Showground at Bucklesham was blessed with big crowds and graced with the presence of royal guest Princess Alexandra, although she arrived one and a half hours late due to the traffic chaos.

Executive director of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, Chris Bushby, was unsure of exact attendance figures for the first day of the show, but said: "Judging by the traffic and by the crowds, it looks like we have had an excellent first day's attendance.'

After her arrival, Princess Alexandra met a number of special guests including the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lord Belstead and chief constable, Paul Scott-Lee.

She was also introduced to various Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA) officials including president Sir Michael Bunbury, chairman John Kerr and executive director Christopher Bushby.

Following lunch, the Princess presented 40 members of the farming community with long service awards.

Visitors at the ceremony were delighted when, as well as chatting to award winners, the Princess also entered the crowds to meet their families.

Among them was Maureen Birt, whose husband David and his twin brother, Francis, have between them clocked up more than 70 years' work on the same farm.

Mrs Birt said: "She said it must have taken a lot to stick with the same company. It was lovely to see her and she's just so natural.

"She just wandered up to us and started chatting," Mrs Birt added.

The Princess spent more than two hours visiting the show's cattle enclosures, chatting to farmers and visiting demonstrations, including one featuring the famous Suffolk Punch horse.

She also found time to visit a pen containing the Suffolk sheep breed, much to the delight of farmer Russell Hart.

"She really seemed to know a lot about the animal and said she realised that we had to start lambing earlier this year," said Mr Hart.

"I was just looking around when I saw some commotion up ahead and I couldn't believe it when she started to approach us," he added.

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