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Gloucestershire Business News

Plug is pulled on county's historic agricultural show

A major agricultural show that's been a proud fixture in Gloucestershire's events calendar for 117 years won't go ahead this summer - with organisers blaming a lack of volunteers as the reason for pulling the plug.

The show, due to be held in the grounds of Berkeley Castle, was scheduled for the last weekend in June but Simon Ball, chairman of the Berkeley Agricultural Society, said a lack of available hands has forced a plan B – with a series of smaller scattered events now taking place, some without public access, at participant farms.

"We will have livestock competitions on the farmer's own farms and some crop judging, and a potential event at my farm on June 11," said Simon, who farms and runs a farm shop at nearby Tortworth.

The news will come as a blow to local trade. Pete Tiley, who owns the national award-winning Salutation Inn, next door to the event, told Punchline the cancellation was a "great shame".

"I'm very sad to hear this, not least for the obvious effect on this pub. It's proved to be one of the busiest times of the year, but it's up to the town to get behind this event which is a showcase of our heritage and agricultural traditions."

Elsewhere in Berkeley, the news has not come as a surprise: "Lately, it's been a shadow of what it once was. Last year was very quiet with so many trade stands empty. I think the Pandemic knocked it back and made trading conditions tough," said land agent Gerald Spencer.

However, key sponsors such as estate agents David James remain optimistic for the viability of a show in 2024.

"There is an open meeting on March 7 at 7.30pm at Tortworth Farm Shop for future volunteers to attend and to discuss forming a committee for 2024 and beyond," said director Matt Blaken.

Last year's show saw a footfall of around 10,000 visitors and was supported by NFU Mutual. the show's supporting site cites 30,000 annual visitors and plans for 2023 included a live stream of events.

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