Monday, 02 August 2021

Sunshine and savings put show back into the black

THE organisers of the Henley Show are celebrating an upturn in fortunes.

THE organisers of the Henley Show are celebrating an upturn in fortunes.

The Henley and District Agricultural Association raised £13,000 as a result of an increase in visitors at last year’s show and other events.

A new marketing campaign targeted at a wider area and cutting the cost of some non-agriculture related entertainments at the show also contributed.

The association was forced to take action after recording an £8,000 deficit in 2011 when the annual sheepdog trial was cancelled and poor weather led to a reduced attendance at the show.

Mike Cannon, who chairs the association, said 2012 had been an “excellent” year.

Speaking at its annual meeting at Hambleden village hall, he said: “We finished the previous year with a loss and this year has seen a dramatic improvement.

“At our 2012 show most of the metrics were beaten with numbers of entrants in all classes and all types up over last year and, of course, we had great weather and a spectacular day.”

Mr Cannon said the sheepdog trial and the ploughing match were both a “great success” with a good number of competitors and increased visitors.

“Both events are a great day out for all the family,” he said.

Association treasurer Paul Fairweather said the “position of austerity” had come to an end. “I am pleased to say that our actions have improved our financial position enormously,” he said.

“I am pleased to report that due to the combined efforts of all involved in organising the events, Jo Taylor, our manager in the office, Stephen Cousins, our chaplain, who sorted out the weather, and the continued support of our sponsors, we were able to increase revenue and reduce costs with no impact on the quality of our events.

“The result of this is that we have started to repair the damage to our reserves and restart our programme of donations to local charitable organisations.” The meeting was chaired by last year’s president Andrew Ingram, who said the weather played an important part in the success of the association’s events.

“Clearly the business model is right, we just need good weather,” he said. “I am delighted the financial situation has reversed in my year.

“I have had an absolute ball as president — I have loved every moment of it. I was quite daunted when I took over the role but it has been a wonderful experience and I felt greatly honoured.”

Mr Ingram then introduced his successor, Rick White, former head of marketing at Henley investment firm Invesco Perpetual, adding: “It’s a doddle.” Mr White, who lives near Goring Heath, said: “Andrew will be a hard act to follow but I know I can rely on Mike Cannon and Jo Taylor to steer me in the right direction.

“My main aim is to connect the association to the broader business community, starting with a party at the River and Rowing Museum in June for association members and their guests.”

The guest speaker was Nick English, co-founder of Bremont Watches, which is based in Marlow Road, Henley.

He gave a presentation on the origins of the company and the history of British watch-making as well as his love of aviation and all things mechanical.

* This year’s association events are as follows: Sheepdog trial — Sunday, July 14; Henley Show — Saturday, September 14; Ploughing match and country market — Sunday, October 13.

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