Show faces cash crisis

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MAJOR repairs to the showfield at Bladnoch Park after the deluge on Wigtown Show day in August have left Wigtown Agricultural Society facing a cash crisis.

The 200-year-old society is appealing for help from the public to raise £4000 to complete the repairs to the ground. The society has already shelled out £13,000 on essential work.

Those who were there on the day will never forget the conditions both overhead and underfoot.

This week a letter went out to society members and sponsors, advertisers, exhibitors and supporters of the show explaining that the damage to the showfield was caused by the heavy clay soil which stopped the water penetrating down to the drainage pipes. It was also discovered that over the years the pipework of the main drain had collapsed and needed replaced.

The society agreed that as the ground was in a state of disrepair after the amount of traffic and feet that came in and out of the showfield on the big day the time had come to bite the bullet and the diggers went in.

Almost 250 tonnes of gravel was used to improve the drainage, the main drain was replaced and areas that had never been drained had new drains or soakaways installed.

The original hardcore track that runs around the ground was severely tested on show day as exhibitors and trade stands battled to extract themselves from the morass.

But that track will now need to be widened to ensure emergency access is available at all times regardless of the weather conditions.

Bladnoch Park is owned by the society but is leased to Newton Stewart Rugby Football Club for most of the year.

It is also used for schools cross country competitions, horse and pony events and, next July, will be the venue for the annual Cancer Research Relay for Life.

The society’s coffers have also been hit by the understandable drop in admissions on show day, so to raise the £4000 needed to complete the repairs they have come up with four options.

A quiz night will take place on Saturday, November 24, in the showfield pavilion with a licensed bar. Teams of up to five people can enter at a cost of £30. Alternatively you can donate money to the society. Each drainage pipe costs £40 so people are being asked to contribute towards one. Or you can donate a fat lamb via auctioneers Craig Wilson Ltd 
or donate a prize to be used at the quiz night or future fundraising event.

Show chairman Ross McKie said: “The position was that the showfield was getting to be unusable in some parts.

“Raising the money to complete the work will help us safeguard the future of the show.

“I hope we get the support of the community as many organisations make use of the showfield.”