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Scorching summer day the perfect backdrop for return of Shropshire County Show

A scorching summer Saturday and the return of a quintessential Shropshire event allowed hundreds of Salopians and visitors to dream of more normal times.

Prize cattle competed through the day
Prize cattle competed through the day

The Shropshire County Show returned to Shrewsbury's showground on Saturday for the first time in two years, having been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic like all large events.

Temperatures soared into the high 20s, adding to the sense of a summer carnival. The familiar sounds of sizzling grills, crackling PA systems and humming generators powering fairground rides were also welcome reminders of pre-Covid gatherings.

Hundreds of visitors dressed to the nines and headed to the showground for the traditional agricultural showcase's return – and the four-legged attendees also looked the part, with eye-catching breeds of sheep and cattle on display throughout.

Rob Ball from Dorrington on his combine, one of many beautiful vehicles on display
Families found pockets of shade wherever they could
Ruth Hughes from Shropshire Rural Support

The animals were competing in a range of classes through the day, and in between judging they were able to shelter from the blazing sun in rows of pens at the business end of the showground.

One proud mother whose family did well in the competitions was Wendy Leitch, who recently moved to Shropshire from Essex having fallen in love with the county.

Wendy's daughter Polly-Anne Leitch and son-in-law Aubrey Longford own Highland cattle which won in three categories.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it," said Wendy. "The organisation that they've done is great, considering the short period they've had to do it in.

"This is the [family's] first outing since February last year, this has been our first event and I couldn't have wished for better.

"It's been so clean as well, everyone's been using the bins, groups are keeping their distance. I couldn't ask for more."

As well as the animals, dozens of gleaming classic vehicles including tractors, motorbikes and the odd steam engine were on display.

Majestic Shire horses were also dressed up for the occasion, and families enjoyed seeing them paraded around for their own competitions.

Fairground rides were popular through the day
Ffion Jones, eight, from Newtown, trying to stay cool
Eva Kettle, seven, from Mold, was among those feeling the heat on one of the hottest days of the year
Families enjoyed themselves in their groups

Families managed to keep their distance from each other while finding pockets of shade in which to escape the scorching sun. Wandering children's entertainers including magicians helped keep the younger visitors engaged, while various traders were plying their wares.

Abby Sabel of gift and decor business Wonderland Works, from Bewdley, was one of the stallholders getting back into the swing of large-scale events.

"It's just lovely to see people out and about and enjoying themselves in the sun," she said.

"It's nice to have some sun! And I've not seen people crowding, people have been quite aware of others."

Whether 'Freedom Day' on Monday has its own repercussions for England's Covid situation, the return of the Shropshire County Show was a reminder of the spirit the county will hang on to whatever comes.

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