THE Ellingham and Ringwood Agricultural Society has cancelled its 2020 show due to the coronavirus pandemic and says it will be focusing on holding the event next year instead.

The 2020 Ellingham Show had been due to take place on August 8. It was cancelled last year due to the weather.

The society's chairman, Steve Thompson, said: “On behalf of our loyal members and supporters, we have tried our very hardest to keep believing and planning for our show. But, in the interest of everybody’s health and safety, and out of respect for all who have suffered and continue to suffer in this crisis, we are now calling a halt on any further preparations for this year. Our focus is now on our 2021 show – which will be held on 14th August.

"As social distancing looks set to continue, and with no clear date by when mass gatherings will be allowed, I’m afraid we have no choice. Even if we were allowed a smaller show, and asked everybody to keep their distance from one another, we just don’t believe it would provide the kind of inclusive, community gathering for all the family that our show is all about.

"We had hoped to stage a “Parade of Thanks” in honour of all the key workers who have been protecting us and keeping us safe, fed and watered. But now that will have to be next year, for which our show theme will be “Ellingham says thank you”.

"It’s a particularly sad decision for all our volunteers and supporters as we also had to cancel last year – because of the dangerously high, unseasonable winds that were sweeping our wonderful showground at Somerley Park. But we are a resilient bunch and we’ll be back. So put a date in your diaries for the 2021 Ellingham Show, August 14th, Somerley Park near Ringwood. I look forward to seeing you there.”