Today’s announcement that the CLA Game Fair at Belvoir Castle is the latest casualty in this disastrously wet summer is a serious blow to small rural businesses.

Some 900 companies, from estate agents to gunsmiths, sporting agents and artists to purveyors of clothing, fishing tackle and fudge, had booked space for the Game Fair, due to be held next weekend (July 20-22), but the organisers, facing a desperate struggle against the elements, made the ‘heartbreaking’ decision to cancel as yet more rain is forecast.

The knock-on effect on local pubs, b & bs and contractors in rural Lincolnshire is likely to run into millions. When Badminton Horse Trials was cancelled in May, it was thought to have cost £8-10 million in local revenue. Many businesses depend on the Game Fair and will now struggle to survive – when Harewood was cancelled in 2007, the overall loss was estimated at £50 million.

Helen Woolley, CLA director-general, said: ‘The construction team worked tirelessly, battling the elements from dawn to dusk. They have really gone the extra mile but, sadly, you can’t always buck the weather and, with the exceptionally high level of rain, it has proved impossible to build the event and to run it safely.’

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All over Britain, outdoor opera, theatre and concerts, such as the blockbuster Kylie Minogue-Jason Donovan reunion in Hyde Park, are all suffering, but the worst-hit events are country shows, in particular equestrian events.

Badminton’s cancellation was followed by that of Chatsworth Horse Trials and, scheduled for this weekend, the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park. British Eventing has lost 70 days this season and numerous point-to-points, a major source of revenue to hunts, have been cancelled.

The Great Yorkshire Show was cancelled, after day one, for the first time in its 154-year history, and the Scottish Game Fair and Suffolk County Show were also curtailed, and the semi-finals of the Veuve Cliquot Gold Cup polo at Cowdray had to be relocated.

Lincolnshire – and numerous equestrian, country clothing and gift businesses – will now be pinning their hopes on the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (August 30-September 2). Surely it will have stopped raining by then.

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  • J Wilson

    If this weather carries on though I suspect it will be the whole of farming which will have problems this year. Harvests will be impossible with such rain I would think. Already we are hearing that bees do not come out in the rain and that therefore the apple crop wasnt fertilised this year….. Politians and civil servants have yet to understand that our economy is based on farming as well as engineering industry….actual goods and exports as opposed to hypothetical banking “products”. I just hope the weather turns around soon and its not as bad as I am saying.

  • Mike Fry.

    No one can dictate the weather. But the protracted rainfall this year will spell disaster for the many stallholders we love to visit unless we all continue to treat ourselves to some well earned retail therapy. Go to forthcoming gamefairs and shows remaining or contact your preferred retailer (most are on the internet ) and throw them a desperately needed life line.

  • James Fernie-Gibson

    This is indeed a tragic blow to local small businesses, farmers and others dependent on events like the CLA Game Fair at Belvoir Castle. However, I find it more tragic that certain people still find it acceptable to use these tragedies as an excuse to spew sensationalism fuelled, Mirror inspired pig ignorance linked to the failings of the banking system.

  • Richard Hodgson

    It is so very sad about the Game Fair. It is yet another major blow for rural businesses.
    However I feel I should clarify your note regarding “events planned for this weekend”.
    The Semi-Finals of the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup polo took place today, Thursday, at the adjacent polo ground within Cowdray Park, with an attendance of several thousand.
    This weekend’s Gold Cup Final, on Sunday, 15 July, will go ahead as planned.

  • Paul Garnish

    This year has been horrendous for all rural small business who rely on the country shows and events, over the course of the 2012 hundreds of millions of pounds have been lost due to record breaking levels of rain fall

    Our government should surely appreciate that
    Support is needed for all these businesses who will suffer with many losing their business effecting hundreds of hard working employees through no fault of their own

    Unlike our corrupt banking system who the government bailed out with our hard earned tax revenue, who now sit in their posh offices
    plotting their next fraudulent move

    Will they help these small independant hard working Companies effected by the unprecedented weather this year
    Not on your Welly they won’t

    And will the government acknowledge urgent help is needed and act to safe guard genuine
    British companies and their hard working employees? Not on their Duck ponds they won’t

    Best wishes to all effected by this years weather



  • ailene macmullen

    This is a tragedy for so many but mostly for the traders who have lost so many days this year and whose livelihoods depend on it. My daughter,Clare Brownlow, a young artist was exhibiting at the Scottish Game Fair and at the Yorkshire Show both of which were open for only one of the three days. I now have a very little knowledge of how hard all these people work and how much they put in for us show and fair goers. She is not the only one to lose out financially. It is so sad but our pity and sympathy will not help busineeses which may wel go to the wall because of the weather this year.