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Increased Attendance at South of England Show

Thousands of visitors basked in warm sunshine to enjoy the best of the countryside at the upbeat South of England Show.


south of england ag society

Thousands of visitors basked in warm sunshine to enjoy the best of the countryside at the upbeat South of England Show.

This year’s three day spectacular beat the economic gloom with a combination of perfect show weather, a Royal visit and increased attendance figures – up by nearly 3,000 to a total of 83,818.

HRH Princess Alexandra was Guest of Honour on the first day, touring the packed Ardingly showground and watching a special equestrian event to celebrate the 2009 theme “The Year of the Racecourse.”

In keeping with this theme, opening day was “Dress up Thursday” and ladies donned hats and heels in the glamorous spirit of the competition. Judge Verity Craig chose Lottie Knight from Petworth and Alison Blake from Burgess Hill as worthy winners.

The central message of the show was to support farmers and growers by choosing locally sourced, seasonal produce. Chairman of the South of England Agricultural Society Brian Williams said:

“Buying local food is not only good for agriculture and the regional economy, it is also good for the planet – it cuts carbon emissions. Our region has a wealth of enterprising farmers and producers – and you can certainly taste the difference.”

Pupils from Laughton primary school near Lewes took this message to heart by turning homework into a recipe for success. They launched their imaginative Cook It! Eat It! Love It! cookbook at the show and plan to use the proceeds to develop their own vegetable garden.

Other young talent was showcased in the Young Craftsman of the Year competition, won this year by 18 year old Tony Palmer from the Camelia Botnar Foundation at Cowfold with his ornate garden gate.

Long standing supporters of the Society were also honoured through a number of agricultural and special awards. Princess Alexandra presented a new Fellowship Award to friend and benefactor Sydney Stratton from Copthorne, and the President’s Trophy was given to Andrew Gottlieb from Eastbourne following 40 years’ service to the Society.

Director Deborah Barber said: “It was heartening that so many people attended the show over the three days and our grateful thanks go to our wonderful supporters and volunteers without whom our countryside event would not be possible.”

Further information on individual competition winners is available. Results can be viewed on the Society’s website –


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