TEN thousand people enjoyed an action-packed day when rain clouds cleared for Bridport’s ‘terrific’ Melplash Show.
Visitors flocked to the 163rd edition of the event, held on West Bay Road, where highlights included a fearless motorcycle display and the grand parade of prize- winning animals.
The dry weather was no surprise to 83-year-old Jack Smith, of Knapp Farm, Broadwindsor.
He said: “I’ve been here 67 years stewarding and I’ve only known two really wet days.
“Even if its been flooded out the day before, the Melplash Show always has a good, dry field.”
Mr Smith, who stewards every year in the heavy horse event, has only ever missed two shows and that was because he was in hospital for hip operations.
He added: “I enjoy Melplash because I meet old friends and we have a yarn with one another.”
Bridport mayor Geoffrey Akerman and mayoress Gillian Summers were ‘absolutely delighted’ the weather improved ‘just in time.’ West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin also attended and met with National Farmers’ Union members to discuss ‘the issues that affect farmers’.
He said: “I’ve been coming for 15 years and this year is just as good as always.
“It’s a terrific community show with a very local feel.
“It’s not one of those vast things where you wander around and don’t meet anyone you know.
“Everyone knows everyone – it’s a wonderful family event.”
Chairman of the show, Nigel Jones, said the event had ‘defied the elements’ and an estimated 10,000 visitors had attended.
He said: “The show ground has held up remarkably well.
“The weather’s fantastic and highlights include huge entries in some of the livestock classes, record sheep and goat entries and interesting cattle ones too.
“In the entertainments arena, we’ve got the White Helmets Motorcycle Display team and the Rockwood Dog Display Team.
“The entries in the handicraft were absolutely outstanding and the floral displays were described by one judge as the best he’s ever seen for a show of this size.”
Winner of this year’s supreme champion award was a Limousin yearling heifer called Ethel – after the farmer’s late mother-in-law.
Farmer Colin Hutchings, of Exmouth, was delighted when his other Aberdeen Angus cow called Miss Ethel also claimed the reserve champion accolade.