The 2020 Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show has been cancelled, organisers said on Tuesday 12 May.
Richard Curtis, who is chairman of the show, said this year’s event, scheduled for 19 August, could not go ahead because of concerns over safety in the light of the coronavirus crisis.
‘We did not feel we could successfully introduce social distancing at the show nor want to take away from the relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere on show day,’ he said.
But in a statement Mr Curtis, who said he was ‘heartbroken’ over the decision, promised that the popular one-day show would be back ‘better than ever’, on 18 August 2021.
The full statement reads:
It is with deep regret that we must inform you on behalf of the Board of Management at the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Society that the tough decision has been made to cancel the 2020 Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Show which was scheduled for the 19th August 2020 will not take place due to the ongoing Government restrictions and uncertainty surrounding mass gatherings. We as a Society did not feel we could successfully introduce social distancing at the Show nor want to take away from the relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere on Show day. The number one priority is the safety of stewards, staff, competitors and public and for that reason we felt there was no other option but to cancel.
We know this is disappointing not only to us, but our community, the traders who rely on customers at the Show and of course our incredible stewards who put this Show on, we all love this Show and we had some really exciting new plans for this year. However, we want to remain positive, planning begins now for next year, now more than ever we want to put the local producers in contact with consumers after a hard year, we will welcome back the farmers to their annual networking social and families will enjoy everything that is truly great about our Great British countryside.
We truly are heartbroken at the thought of Turnpike Showground lying empty this August, but also know that together the Show will return better than ever on the 18th August 2021.
The Show Team will be in direct contact with all those that have paid for tickets, membership and trade stands with more information about what the cancellation will mean for them shortly.
In the meantime, the Society wishes to send its best wishes to you and your families during these difficult and uncertain times. We also pass our thoughts to all the heroic Key Workers including our outstanding NHS Workers and Farmers.
The Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Society