Article by Simon Murfitt: The annual Essex Country Show, held at Barleylands in Billericay for 30 years, has been axed.

Families have enjoyed monster trucks, steam engines, dog shows and everything in between at the annual event but exhibitors have been sent letters this week telling them this year's show will be the last.

The letter, sent by owner Andrew Philpot, blames traders moving online as one of the reasons for the shows' decline.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted in the letter, Andrew Philpot"]After many hours of discussion and deliberation we have come to the very difficult decision to discontinue the Essex County Show. 2016 was its last year. Since its inception in 1986, with meagre beginnings in our garden, the show went from strength to strength. Showcasing many rural crafts and skills and promoting aspects of country life and agriculture as it has moved on from the horse and plough, through the steam era to modern methods. It has enabled the general public to see a variety of classic cars, bikes, commercial vehicles, road making methods and personal collections of memorabilia. All this coupled with traditional steam amusements, not to mention all the entertainment in the main and countryside rings. Such a lot of areas of interest for people to see.[/quote]

It continues:

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted in the letter, ANdrew Philpot"]However many of these areas of the show have reduced in size in recent years with many crafters and trade moving to online trading and an increasing number of exhibitors no longer able to attend due to age or associated costs involved. It has just not been possible to replace many of these and we feel as a result that it is impossible to hold a show in the future which would give the public the wide variety of interest and attractions that it has become used to.[/quote]

The news comes as a shock after this year's event went down very well.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Barleylands event manager Jenny Sparkes"]We still wrapping up from this year's show - we have got to thank everybody for coming along and in a couple of weeks we'll start planning for 2017.[/quote]

But the cost of running the event has now become too much for the Philpot family, who own Barleylands and finance the event.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by"]Other considerations have also become an issue," the letter continues. As you know the Philpot family alone finance the show, with no external sponsorship or financial support. We ourselves find that the huge increase in costs, health and safety issues, insurance, unpredictability of the weather and uncertain profitability of modern farming, that the risks are just too great to carry on.[/quote]

The letter says how this year's 30th anniversary saw a record attendance on Sunday, despite bad weather have a negative impact on the Saturday.

It adds that the atmosphere at the show was 'fantastic' and thanks exhibitors and stall holders for their efforts.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted in the letter"]We are very proud to say that through the show we have supported many local charities as well as Young Farmers, Scouts and Guides, to whom we are extremely grateful for all their help. With your help estimate that over 30 years in excess of £125,000 has been given to worthy charities.[/quote]

Article by Simon Murfitt, EssexLive

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