‘Passionate’ volunteers praised as Suffolk Show celebrates another successful year
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The hard-work and dedication invested by passionate volunteers is behind the success of the Suffolk Show, the director has said.
Reflecting on this year’s event at Trinity Park near Ipswich, Bee Kemball paid tribute to the more than 300 people who gave their time freely to help showcase this wonderful county.
When asked what drew visitors back year after year, Mrs Kemball said: “I think it’s because we pay an awful lot of attention to detail.
“We have a huge team of volunteers who come in and do their particular sections, they are very knowledgeable about their sections, they are very passionate people, they work very hard and obviously they do it for free because we are a charity and I think that shows when you see the detail and how we look after our exhibitors, our trade stand holders and of course our visitors who come and enjoy the two days, they wouldn’t come back if they didn’t enjoy it so I think that’s what says it all.”
Mrs Kemball said there had been “perfect show weather” over the two days, and described the overall event as “fabulous”.
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There were fears of rain but visitors enjoyed a dry event with comfortable heat and beautiful sunshine.
“We had the rain the night before the show started so all the rings looked perfect and then of course we had lovely sunshine but not too hot so our animals are happy as well,” Mrs Kemball added.
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Tasked with summing up the Suffolk Show in three words, Mrs Kemball said “exciting”, “families” and “friendly”.
The event always proves a hit for children who are able to get up-close with farm yard animals, get their face painted, grab a sweet treat, climb on-board a tractor, try their hands at a new sport and learn about the agriculture world.
Education is a key part of the show, which is organised by the Suffolk Agricultural Association and celebrates the very best of the county.
This year’s event inspired visitors to both look back at how Suffolk was 100 years ago, and to look forward and imagine how technology can shape the years to come.
There was an interactive First World War display focusing on wartime agriculture with replica machinery, equipment, clothing and nostalgia recipes.
At the other end of the scale, innovative technology from Adastral Park in Martlesham was exhibited at the BT marquee, alongside plenty of hands-on activities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and computing.
Children involved in the Suffolk Farming School of the Year competition were also tasked with researching how farming has evolved over the past century.
Mrs Kemball said the theme had “worked beautifully”.
Visitor numbers have yet to be officially counted but Mrs Kemball said it felt similar to 2017, which attracted some of the biggest crowds on record.
Next year will be Mrs Kemball’s last at the helm of the Suffolk Show as she completes her three-year term.
Questioned on what visitors could expect in 2019, Mrs Kemball said: “We will always try and improve on everything we have done this year, but we wait for the feedback.
“We love getting feedback from our visitors, our exhibitors, trader stands and often that forms our ideas for the following year so we will wait and see by the end of the summer.”
Members of the public approached by this newspaper had nothing but praise for this year’s Suffolk Show.
Tara Smith, 46 and from Capel, said: “I think it’s great because there’s a real mixture of stuff here.
“You have people who want to go shopping and if you’re are interested in agriculture or livestock side you have that.
“It’s a massive show so if you wanted to do everything you need the two days and it’s still great for the kids.
“It’s a great family day and if you have slightly older kids and they are sensible you feel happy they can go off for a bit.
“It’s well organised, well run, tidy, clean – I love it. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been.”
Her 70-year-old mum, Margaret Langestone, from Hatfield Peverel in Essex, added: “It’s lovely.”
Sue Smith, 71 and from Ipswich, said she had particularly enjoyed the heavy horses centre.
She added: “It’s going very well, we have had a lovely day.”
Katy Runacres, 29, said she enjoyed meeting lots of new people and interacting with the Suffolk community.