The sun made one of this year’s rare appearances to welcome visitors who flocked to the 77th Heathfield Show at the end of May.

Five showing rings hosted a broad range of displays and event classes, providing plenty of attractions for everyone to enjoy.

Headlining the main ring was the IMPS Motorcycle Display Team, which delighted the crowd with a daredevil performance that included jumping over vehicles and through flames, stunts that were all the more impressive given that the riders were aged between five and 14.

The Shetland Pony Grand National thrilled onlookers with some colourful, speedy, competitive riding, while visitors were also treated to a celebration of 60 years of the Massey Ferguson 100 series, brought to life by a parade of more than 50 tractors.

Bill Gower, the Show’s Chairman commented: “We are proud the show is celebrating its 77th anniversary year, but it wouldn’t be possible without the continued help and commitment of the volunteer committee members and ground steward volunteers and the generosity of our sponsors. It’s remarkable how our local community pulls together every year to produce such a spectacular show.

“Our aim has always been to showcase and support local farming and agriculture and this is still very evident today, with the varied livestock competition classes and a healthy support for our equine class section.

“The education section jointly organised by Plumpton Agricultural college, the Young Farmers and South Brockwells Farm helps introduce young people to farming and agriculture and is always popular.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, the show will be making donations to the local organisations and groups who helped us on show day by putting forward volunteers.”

Main prize winners:

  • Supreme Beef Champion Sam Drury – Cinderhill Tinkerbell
  • Supreme Dairy Champion Beth Mellish – Showshine Betha
  • Supreme Sheep Champion Debbie Barr – Dutch Spotted
  • Supreme Pig Champion Oaklands Pigs – Rother Molly 65B (British Saddleback)

The show got off to its traditional start for 70 farmers and landowners who attended Batcheller Monkhouse’s popular Sussex Breakfast, which this year focused on ‘Farmers of the Future’.

Keynote speaker Tom Gribble, who, with his father Ed, farms some 1,500 acres at Firle, opened the discussion, confirming the business’ commitment to making the best of the environmental grants available while at the same time keeping food production at the centre of the business strategy.

“There are so many pressures on farmers,” he said, “apart from the obvious one of trying to run a profitable business. The regulatory burden and over-complexity of the environmental grants scheme, plus the ban on live export of livestock for slaughter is particularly burdensome.

“Geographically Sussex is closer to France than the large livestock markets in the West Country or northern England, so for our livestock the journey could be shorter.” He added: “We are frustrated with some of the trade arrangements and of course climate change is having a huge impact.”

A lively question and answer session followed, with Huw Merriman, former MP for Bexhill and Battle, bringing the discussion to a close.

Although not standing for re-election in July, Mr Merriman retains an interest in key local issues, particularly what he feels is a chronic shortage of housing across the South East. He told the audience that while it was understandable that people worried about the impact on their own locality, they should be urged to think more holistically.

Leo Hickish, chairman and partner at hosts Batcheller Monkhouse, said: “To hear the next generation of farmers presenting their ideas for the future and embracing technology and advances perhaps not available to their forbears was of great interest.

“Our country’s future food production lies very much in their hands. Whatever your political bias and whichever party has the key to Number 10 in July, farmers will keep farming sustainably, bringing safe food produced to the highest welfare standards to our shopping baskets.”

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