The cost of cancelling the Great Yorkshire Show could hit £2m, with organisers saying they will work to make sure that bad weather never causes the event to be called off again.
Bosses at the Harrogate showground took the difficult decision on Tuesday evening to cancel the three-day event after heavy rain left the site’s car parks unusable and several of the rings, including the Main Ring, very muddy.
Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, the charity which organises the show, said money lost by cancelling yesterday and today would come from its reserves. But he vowed that the society would still look at investing in the site’s infrastructure to ensure that it is able to withstand future downpours.
All purchasers of advance tickets have been promised a full refund, with entrants into the competitive classes also expected to receive their money back.
Mr Pulling told the Yorkshire Post: “Obviously we will be back, bigger and better than ever, and we will certainly be learning the lessons of this year. We will be looking at what we did right and what we did wrong and learning the lessons so that this never happens again.
“I believe the society has got the financial resources to cope.”
The cancellation was the first time the event has had to be called off after getting under way, having been previously axed due to the Second World War and the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak.
It also marked the first time the weather has forced a cancellation in the event’s 153-year history. Nonetheless Mr Pulling said the society was so determined to avoid a repeat it would look at all options.
“There will have to be a balance. One of the big problems was the area for getting the horseboxes in and out, which became very muddy. We cannot have that happen again and we will look to alter that area.
“It may be that we look at extra drainage and more contingency car parking but if our fields are flooded then chances are most other people’s will be too.”
He added the decision to cancel had been felt keenly by all the staff, who had spent months preparing for the show. “Thinking back on the amount of work that has gone it is heartbreaking. There were a fair few tears here yesterday,” he added.
“But Yorkshire farmers deal with variable weather conditions and we will do the same.
“We have had huge numbers of emails and letters supporting us and that has helped us be able to pick ourselves up. We have had a few people saying that we should not have gone ahead at all and some saying we should have soldiered on – which leads me to think we have got the balance right.”
To claim a refund visit www.greatyorkshireshow.co.uk
Comment: Page 12.