Princess Anne given warm welcome at South of England Show

John Blake was presented an award by Princess Anne at the South of England Show
John Blake was presented an award by Princess Anne at the South of England Show

71,000 people flocked to enjoy the spectacle of the 47th South of England Show at the South of England Showground in Ardingly.

The largest agricultural show in the region was declared a great success by organisers with numbers up 3,000 on last year.

The Princess Royal was warmly welcomed by crowds, presenting rosettes to carriage drivers from the Riding for the Disabled Association including Lorraine Mercer from Haywards Heath.

Lorraine, a Thalidomide survivor who was born with no arms or legs, is a long time member of Riding for the Disabled and already has a home festooned with trophies from her achievements.

The Princess Royal also visited growing displays in the Wildlife, Farming and Forestry area and the Horticulture Marquee. She then attended the AGM of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth, which was hosted at the show. On the opening day of the show, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson MP was well received by 150 farmers, pledging that he would put agriculture at the forefront of government policy and saying he was committed to growing UK food exports.

The three-day event showcased the best of agriculture and farming across the South East.

In celebration of the Year of Horticulture, dozens of primary schools were asked to celebrate the theme by submitting their own work.

World class stuntmen The Kangaroo Kids made their debut at the show, wowing crowds with dare devil tricks on quad bikes. Other highlights included the micro-sized Shetland Pony Grand National, heavy horse turnouts, show jumping, Fur & Feather displays with dozens of breeds of chickens and rabbits and the famous livestock display.

Other local winners included Sheddingdean Community Primary School in Burgess Hill who won a first place for theirgarden inspired by the story of ‘Winnie the Pooh’. Children from Reception class to Year 6 created various elements from growing the plants to knitting the giant beehive, painting signposts and creating Honey Bee stepping stones. With the help of Sharon Kent And Jenny Wisby, the children recreated the magic and mystery of Pooh’s landscape in a smaller version. The entire school attended the show.

HeadteacherYasmin Ashraf said:”It was a fantastic day out and so many members of the public sought me out to let me know how impressed they were with not only the garden but with the children’s comments and behaviour.”

The show is the flagship annual event organised by the South of England Agricultural Society, which is a charity promoting education about the countryside.

Buy this week’s Mid Sussex Times for four pages of photos and to find out how Middy man Blaise Tapp got on as a first time visitor to the show with his four-year-old.