Video interview - Heckington Show suffers a soaking but chairman pledges to improve things for next year

Muddy under foot for Heckington Show visitors on Sunday.
Muddy under foot for Heckington Show visitors on Sunday.

Heckington Show organisers found themselves up against the elements again at the weekend when a day of persistent rain reduced parts of the showground to mud.

Committee chairman Charles Pinchbeck says the fact his volunteers were able to continue to deliver the show over both days was a triumph under testing circumstances.

Why does it rain on me! A damp programme seller!

Why does it rain on me! A damp programme seller!

Dedicated Heckington showgoers still attended, although some traders and visitors were unhappy about the degree of mud.

Mr Pinchbeck admitted visitor numbers were “significantly down”, adding: “Parts of the show have been really successful. But part of the ground that was re-worked this year to try and improve it for the longer term, struggled with this year’s conditions and the decision was taken that it wasn’t suitable for general pedestrian access, and so the traders were told they could pack up and we would help them get out.”

He said despite little or no rain on Sunday, they were victims of a pessimistic weather forecast.

Mr Pinchbeck said: “We will be meeting in September and looking at what else we can do to improve the long term conditions of the ground and looking at practical and effective measures to deal with heavy rainfall.”

Bethany Grange, aged four, came prepared.

Bethany Grange, aged four, came prepared.

Mr Pinchbeck said the dry days leading up to the show meant they managed to deliver a fairly full Saturday’s entertainment.

“I was delighted to be able to have penny farthing races. It was wonderful to mark 150 years since our first cycle race here at Heckington,” he said.

The 10-mile road race saw a large entry field, while children’s races were held under cover of the empty livestock tent.

The organisers had taken a decision very early on Sunday to let people know before they started arriving that the showjumping would not be held after safety inspections, while the antiques fair, craft and shopping marquee and oil engine display were also closed off on Sunday. But seven of the eight car parks held up fine, having been laid to permanent grass.

The Leicester Tigers’ Big Boot display and the Silver Stars parachute drop had to be called off due to conditions. But there were thrills and spills from the extreme sport of ‘Horseboarding’ - which quickly drew a crowd to the main ring on Saturday.

Horse riders towed boarders around a course to complete it cleanly in the quickest time, with spectacular results.

Saturday was rounded off with the fantastic firework concert featuring the Sleaford Concert Band and Madness tribute band, Gladness. The rain stopped for most of the performance, and the concert band was as good as ever, while Gladness had people joining in to the favourite hits and a huge firework finale generated good feedback from the crowd.

The concert marquee continued to perform throughout the weekend and there was still plenty to see in the horticulture and art and crafts tents.

Mr Pinchbeck said they managed to have one of their biggest entries ever for the livestock judging events, and possibly one of the biggest Lincoln Longwool sheep contests anywhere.

He said: “We are getting rather good at having wet livestock shows, so we had a team of five tractors taking all the livestock in.”

Sunday also saw a great show from the Romford British Legion marching band, getting some audience participation going, while the Backdraft wheelie fire engine could not enter the main ring, but instead set up a display for selfies with the children.