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Royal Norfolk Show chairman urges schools to get behind the event

Sir Nicholas Bacon at the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association AGM. Photo: Bill Smith

Sir Nicholas Bacon at the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association AGM. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2014

The chairman of the Royal Norfolk Show organisers has hailed the event as “the jewel in the crown” of rural life – and called for schools to get fully behind the show.

Crowds at the Royal Norfolk Show 2013. Photo: Steve AdamsCrowds at the Royal Norfolk Show 2013. Photo: Steve Adams

The biggest event in the county’s calendar is being staged today and tomorrow, with 90,000 people expected to enjoy a wide variety of attractions, including thrilling grand ring treats and a record number of almost 2,000 livestock.

Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association chairman Sir Nicholas Bacon said the number of children attending the show had paradoxically dropped since they were given the day off school and he hopes the trend will be reversed.

“I wholeheartedly endorse the need for us to ensure the voice of the countryside isn’t lost. The key is ensuring that everyone, especially young people, have a chance to find out more about food, farming and rural life within the county. As an organisation this is at the heart of everything we do and we work all year round, especially with our education partners, to help develop this understanding.

“The jewel in the crown of our activity is undoubtedly the Royal Norfolk Show when around 90,000 people descend on showground to celebrate rural life. Traditionally the show has attracted a family audience with schools showing strong support for the event, especially on the Thursday.

“This changed following the advent of the inset day several years ago, and the decision to give children the day off. This has had the opposite effect than was intended. We heavily subsidise school parties to come, but the unintended consequence is that numbers have fallen significantly. While it has encouraged some families to come, it also meant that our schools felt able to drop something from their already busy timetables.

“Next year will see the removal of this inset day and a return to the normal school week. As we welcome this opportunity it is now imperative that, with our partners, we work together to encourage schools to take part in the show.

“If we can achieve this, we will reach the ultimate goal of ensuring everyone in Norfolk better understands, engages with and loves our beautiful county.”

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