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Rain-hit North Yorkshire County Show offers full refund
A CANCELLED agricultural show has made a point of “upholding its honour” by refunding every last penny paid to it – down to a couple of pounds for cake entries.
Alan Andrew, secretary of North Yorkshire County Show, said it was one of the worst moments of his life when he stood on the waterlogged showground on the morning before the scheduled June 17 show and realised it would have to be called off.
“I drove onto the field at 8am and I was there entirely alone and my heart sank,” he said. “I looked at the field and I looked at the clouds and knew it couldn’t go ahead. It was probably one of the saddest moments of my life.”
The event, at South Otterington, near Northallerton , was the first of many rural shows across the region to be cancelled over the summer when exceptionally wet weather left ground conditions treacherous.
The organising committee decided to refund every penny paid to them by traders, businesses and people who entered classes. It took five weeks to refund everyone and cost more than £40,000.
Mr Andrews said: “As a goodwill gesture, and to uphold the reputation of the show, we wanted to repay everyone everything.
“In the poultry classes alone, it cost £1,000 to refund everyone. People had only paid about £3 per bird, but more than 100 people entered.
“We had 350 horse entries to repay.”
The refunds have come from show reserves. To replenish coffers for next year’s show, organisers have organised a clay pigeon shoot and family fun day, followed by a dinner dance at the showfield later this month.
But so much goodwill was generated towards the show that most of the businesses and individuals involved offered their time and equipment for free.
Mr Andrew said: “We have had one man offer to teach archery free of charge on the day, the golf clubs for the fun golf competition have been loaned at no cost, and the catering equipment and generators – it is all being loaned free of charge.
“Even my 87-year-old mother has offered to donate all the coconuts for the coconut shy.
People want to see this succeed.”
The clay pigeon shoot will be held at Otterington Hall showfield on Saturday, September 29. It will be followed by a dinner dance in the evening. For tickets, call Alan Andrew on 07521-485060 or Len Cragg on 01609-773577.