"The best news all year" - Organisers of the Westmorland County Show react to being able to hold the event

Report by Fiona Marley Paterson

Remember when you could have 35,000 people in some fields? And escape the British weather huddled in marquees? It's almost the stuff of science fiction now.

Yet organisers say it's on this year - with a Covid twist.

"I don't think it's going to be a fantastically financial massive success and make a lot of money this is about holding a show and keeping it going and just seeing what we can do. Farming can be a lonely place. There's a lot of farmers out on their own or just with their families. Local farmers go to the show as year in year out and it's a place where they see friends and that is the market place it's your shop window to what you've got."

James Dixon, Farmer

This September for the first time in its 220 year history the Westmorland Show will be a 2 day event to allow for social distancing.

But they're planning for a world and restrictions they don't yet know about.

The Government's trialling large events from 16th April to 15th May. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says those pilots will test measures for reducing transmission, gathering the scientific evidence to bring these events back safely.

I mean the Westmorland County Show itself has survived humongous challenges in the past. I'm sure whatever is thrown at us we will manage in some way, shape or form and hopefully come out of it better on the other side. You know the show means so much to so many other people.

Our contractors and suppliers haven't had a payday yet in over a year, so to actually have the opportunity of working on events again is magnanimous to them. We had the most amazing email after the announcement from our marquee contractor who's been with us for over 34 years and he said it's the best email he's had in over a year.

Christine Knipe, CEO, Westmorland County Agricultural Society

It's one of the biggest agricultural shows in the country, generating funds for charitable work with farmers.

Last year all this became pictures and online judging.

Credit: Westmorland Agricultural Society

They tried to hold other events to stay in business, which were often cancelled as well.

"You know we started to arrange things at the showground. We had a winter market that we were looking to do and then unfortunately that was cancelled at the last minute because of it starting off again. But who would have said it'd have gone on for this long? You know it's just unreal the length of time that it's gone on but you know it's the right thing to happen and we've all learned by it."

Lisa Bennett, Chairman, Westmorland County Agricultural Society

Organisers have confirmed the show will be a Covid compliant event, and will only go ahead if it is safe to do so.

They say they are working closely with all the authorities involved to ensure all requirements in place in September are met, including social distancing.