County Show organiser upbeat as flood repairs recommence
The pitches should be getting marked out, tractors arriving and organisers excitedly preparing for one of the marquee Shropshire events of the year.
But this year West Mid Showground, home of the Shropshire County Show, will be a bit quieter, with just a few volunteers on site helping rectify the damage of the February flooding disaster, against the backdrop of events being cancelled due to Covid-19.
The County Show, a major agricultural event which attracts thousands to Shrewsbury, would have been taking place this weekend. It's been a tough year for the town, and getting the 53-acre site ready for festival season would have been a huge test in itself before the pandemic struck.
But officials are in good spirits despite the challenges, and are focusing on getting the venue ready for when social distancing rules are relaxed and large-scale events can return.
Helpers have been on site painting and taking care of damage done to the main building, with distancing rules observed. And the Showground committee has managed to get its hands on a loan and a £25,000 government grant to ease some of the financial burden.
Lance Jackson, chairman of Shropshire and West Midlands Agricultural Society, said: "We had a great weekend just before the lockdown was brought in with volunteers coming and helping out but of course that all had to stop for a while.
"Since it was eased we've had bits and pieces going on. We've got a resident who lives down there who's been doing a bit of work. We've had volunteers helping out but we make sure they are socially distanced, or it might just be a couple of people from the same family."
He added: "We've been fortunate to get the government grant and a loan. The floods and the virus have taken us back to square one a bit financially. It is a shame but people's health is the most important thing. We're sorry we can't put the show on this year, but we'll be back next year."
Lance is hoping the public will be out in force and ready to throw their weight behind next year's event at the Showground.
"I'm sure when we're allowed back out people will be chomping at the bit to get out to events so hopefully they'll support what we're doing when we're back up and running."
To help out with volunteering at the Showground visit westmidshowground.co.uk/contact/ and write in.
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