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Happy Return - The Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show 2021

I should think everyone was pleased to see the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show back this year; last year was cancelled because of the pandemic and 2019 was a wet day from dawn to dusk, which thoroughly 'dampened' the crowds. Earlier this year, when the spread of the virus was still a serious worry, the 2021 Show was planned to take place over two days with smaller gates. This would allow people to feel less constricted by the 2-metre recommendations. The trade stands were to be given more space and the Ring events would also be spread over the two days. In the end, however, the doors were opened with no limits on numbers and so the Wednesday crowds were probably as good as any other year might expect. Thursday was a quieter day, but overall the ticket sales must have recouped some of the deficit suffered over the last two years. Gillingham & Shaftesbury is back in business. Well done to all concerned!

The format was little different to the successful formula of recent years. But the hallmark of this Show is that it continues to be where people go to see friends and neighbours and to forge business links. It is a reminder of who we all are and that helps the community thrive through all the days and months that are not Show Days. Participants can demonstrate their skills or expertise – whether presenting the best in the cattle and sheep classes, jumping a clear round in the equestrian arenas, delivering the tastiest home-made food and drink, or entering their dog in the ferret and terrier races! There literally is something for everyone.

Hopefully, the virus will not have thrived on our lovely, open showground.

With all the advances made in the year just gone, and vaccinations in particular, our Show marks another step towards the normality everyone yearns for. It seems the British public are treating the danger with care and attention, so a repeat experience of total lockdown need not upset our lives as and when (rather than if) the next wave of Covid threatens again. Let’s hope we’ll all continue to be prepared, patient and positive, allowing all the activities and events we support - the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show being one - to continue in their success and popularity.

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