Show's return was triumph - organisers

SUFFOLK Show's return after last year's cancellation due to the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak proved a financial triumph, its organisers have revealed.

SUFFOLK Show's return after last year's cancellation due to the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak proved a financial triumph, its organisers have revealed.

The Suffolk Agricultural Association has reported record income from the show and a 67 per cent increase in the surplus after the costs of staging the event are taken into account.

And besides preparing for next year's show, the association is also working on proposals for a major conference facility on the showground site outside Ipswich which would provide a further massive boost for the local economy.

The association's income from the Suffolk Show increased from £726,677 when the event last took place in 2000 to £849,957 this year, its annual accounts show.

By far the biggest factor was an increase in admission receipts resulting from this year's attendance over the two days of about 84,000 – some 4,000 above the average for the three previous shows.

Incomes from trade stands, catering, car parking and sponsorship were also well up, easily offsetting a drop in entry fees from the livestock sector still badly affected by the aftermath of foot-and-mouth.

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John Kerr, who has just stood down as chairman of the association and will present his last annual report at its AGM on December 9, said: "We are in remarkably good heart considering the agricultural recession and what is happening in business.

"John Wall, the honorary show director, has done a first rate job in presenting the show this year. It was a very uncertain time after foot-and-mouth."

Chris Bushby, executive director, said the association's council had now received a presentation on the results of two pieces of research, funded by the Suffolk Development Agency and Suffolk Coastal District Council which recognised the potential of the showground site.

Some of the plans under consideration would make the development of regional rather than purely local importance, said Mr Bushby, and subject to the approval of the association council it was hoped to make further progress next year.

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