ONE of Northumberland’s long-established agricultural shows has become the latest victim of the torrential rain hitting the region.
Organisers of the Kirkheaton Show, west of Ponteland, have told of their disappointment after the event was cancelled for only the second time in its 63-year history.
The previous cancellation was because of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001.
The popular show, scheduled for July 21, had moved to a new field on the outskirts of the village this year, but the flooding was too severe and an early decision to cancel was taken on health and safety grounds.
Diane Todd, the show’s secretary, said: “There is much waterlogging, and when one of our organisers went out to test the ground, the stick sunk eight inches without pressure being applied.
“Wagons and cars were to park on the grass, but now because of the awful weather that is impossible and sadly we have had to take the decision to call off the show.
“Even if the weather turned nice, there is too much waterlogging for it to get right for the 21st of the month.
“We had moved to a new, 30-acre field this year from the former site, which was about six acres in size.
“Unfortunately, the old field might still have been usable, but we cannot go back to it for insurance reasons.”
This year’s show was due to feature horse and pony classes, dog, terrier and hound classes, championship terrier racing and Cumberland wrestling as well as home produce classes, an industrial tent and children’s races.
Diane added: “We have paid out for a lot of things, such as the rosettes and all the general preparation, and now we will have to consider fundraising for next year’s show.
“On a good day, we would have expected up to 400 people to come along and the cancellation will cost us badly.”
Organisers of Slaley Show told The Journal the event is still scheduled for August 11 while those behind the Mouth of Tyne Festival this weekend do not expect it to be affected by rain.
Yesterday the A69 was partially flooded in an afternoon downpour, closing one lane on the westbound dual carriageway between Throckley and Heddon.
The road into Horsley village was also flooded in a dip and traffic diverting from there was caught up in the A69 chaos.
With surface water a growing hazard, an accident on the eastbound lane of the A69 west of Corbridge also forced a partial closure.
One business fearing falling visitor numbers is Brocksbushes Farm, near Corbridge, where people can pick their own fruit.
Owner Caroline Dickinson said: “Strawberries don’t like to get wet so we have to pick off the spoiled fruit. It has a huge impact on the cost of the business. I’ve got to employ six people to pick rain-damaged fruit. Usually it would be picked by lots of visitors.”
However, she added: “Luckily we’re about two weeks late in the strawberry season because of the cold spring we’ve had, so there is plenty of fruit.”
Turn to Business on page 27 to read about Brocksbushes’ Make Summer Happen campaign.