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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


CLA Game Fair cancels for the first time in its 49 year history

The CLA Game Fair has made the difficult decision to cancel their show which was due to open at Harewood House, nr Leeds on Friday 27th July.

Adverse, and worse than predicted weather which has hit Harewood Estate over the last 48 hours, has now defeated all the efforts the organisers have made in order to open the show this coming Friday. Up until then the gallant efforts of the 100 strong site team and the added financial commitment made by the CLA to keep the site in good condition and build up on target meant that the show organisers remained confident that they would be able to receive the contractors and exhibitors from Monday in the run up to the show.

Despite weeks of rain the site was drying out well before the deluge of rain on Friday afternoon followed by lighter but continuous rain throughout the weekend. The site is now saturated with water lying in all areas of the showground regardless of the ditches which have been dug to drain as much excess as possible. Vehicle movement is at a stand still other than movement along the 4000 meters of trackway and acres of bark that have been put along all the show Rows. The concern is that once the exhibitors, catering units and other show contractors arrive many vehicles would have to drive off the protected areas in order to set up and the ground cannot take it. This would create a safety issue apart from the other issues of vehicles getting stuck or not being able to reach their stands.

The show site, caravan park and the car parks would need continuous sunshine to make it possible to continue and the forecast for the coming 5 days is more rain.

This has resulted in a meeting held today with the heads of the CLA and The Game Fair Board, who have given full consideration to all health and safety advise, which concluded that to hold the decision off beyond today (Sunday 22nd July) in the remote hope that weather and site conditions may improve would risk an even greater loss to the many businesses and individuals whose livelihood will be affected by the show’s cancellation.

The organisers are only too aware that aside from the financial loss they are going to have to bear, the overall economic impact of the cancellation will be in the region of £50million. This was the expected spend both inside show and the local region surrounding Harewood following an Economic Impact Survey undertaken by Bournemouth University last year.

The Chairman of The CLA Game Fair Board, Vincent Hedley Lewis, stated ‘Ourselves aside, our hearts go out to all the people who’s livelihood is going to be affected by our not being able to go ahead. We have truly done all we could to keep the show going for everyone’s sake. To proceed this week with the wet conditions we are experiencing would be a health and safety risk as well as an even greater financial loss to the hundreds of businesses and individuals who support us each year. We were not defeated by foot and mouth in 2001 but the rain has defeated us this summer.’

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]