THE organisers of the popular Ellingham Show cancelled by the coronavirus have defiantly vowed: “We’ll be back in 2021.”
It is the second year running the Ellingham and Ringwood Agricultural Society’s showcase event has been postponed. Last year’s was called off in advance of forecasts of powerful winds and rain which caused damage around the area.
Society chair Steve Thompson said: “On behalf of our loyal members and supporters, we have tried our very hardest to keep believing and planning for our show.
“But in the interest of everybody’s health and safety and out of respect for all who have suffered and continue to suffer in this crisis, we are calling a halt on further preparations for this year.”
The society had been left with “no choice”, he explained, as there was no clear date as to when mass gatherings may be allowed.
“Even if we were allowed a smaller show, and asked everybody to keep their distance from one another, we just don’t believe it would provide the kind of inclusive, community gathering for all the family that our show is all about,” he added.
The decision had been tough because the society intended to stage a “parade of thanks” in honour of key workers, he said.
He added: “But now that will have to be next year, for which our show theme will be ‘Ellingham says thank you’.
“It’s a particularly sad decision for all our volunteers and supporters as we also had to cancel last year – because of the dangerously high, unseasonable winds that were sweeping our wonderful showground at Somerley Park.
“But we are a resilient bunch and we’ll be back. So put a date in your diaries for the 2021 Ellingham Show, August 14th, Somerley Park near Ringwood. I look forward to seeing you there.”
As reported in the A&T, the cancellation of the show coincided with a string of others deciding also to give up on efforts to press ahead with annual events which every year attract hundreds of thousands of visitors between them.
Called off were the Christchurch Food Festival, RNLI Mudeford Fun Day, Mudeford art and seafood festivals, Christchurch carnival, and Bournemouth Air Show. The Lymington Spectacular and Classic Car Show was also stopped.
The New Forest Show in July was one of the area’s biggest victims so far, as it was cancelled in March for what would have been its centenary year.