ONE of the area’s biggest events of the calendar, the New Forest Show, has been cancelled in what was due to have been its centenary celebration.
The annual three-day fixture has been axed this summer in the wake of the Prime Minister last night (Monday) ordering a lockdown of all non-vital activity, and ordering people to avoid congregating in groups to stall the spread of coronavirus.
As of Monday morning there have been 335 deaths in the UK, with 171 confirmed cases in the Hampshire County Council area and 13 in the BCP Council area.
The New Forest Show, which had been planned for July, regularly draws up to 100,000 people to the area, with livestock shows, exhibitions and displays.
But the showground at New Park, near Brockenhurst, will be empty this year.
The show said in a statement: “It is with a heavy heart that board members of the New Forest Agricultural Show Society have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 New Forest and Hampshire County Show.
“We are all devastated to have to make this announcement especially with it being the Society’s centenary year and it promised to be a year full of celebration and memories.
“However, we must do the sensible thing and put everyone’s safety and welfare first and follow government guidelines.
“Hopefully by working together, as a community, we can stop this virus and come back bigger and stronger in 2021.”
It added: “The society would like to thank everyone involved in our wonderful organisation and all who contribute to making our show the fantastic event it is – visitors, our army of volunteers, tradestand holders, members, contractors, sponsors, along with our team of staff.
“We are sure you will all be as disappointed as we are.”
Organisers thanked backers for their support and said they would be contacting everyone engaged in the event as quickly as they can.
They also promised the show would be back at New Park next year on 27th, 28th and 29th July.
To find out more, go to www.newforestshow.co.uk/covid-19-update/.