ORGANISERS OF the Great Yorkshire Show “hope to run as near to normal a show as possible”, according to a senior official.

The news that planning was under way to hold the top agricultural event from July 13 to 15 came amid continued uncertainty over the 2021 shows calendar due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Show director Charles Mills said there had already been a positive reaction within the regional farming community to the announcement from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS).

Only a few days after the decision was revealed he was taking part in a Zoom call with an East Yorkshire Young Farmers’ Club and discovered several members compete at the show. “They were simply delighted with the announcement,” he said.

“In some ways it was a relatively easy decision to make following the Prime Minister’s announcement (on the Road Map out of Lockdown),” added Mr Mills, who farms near York.

He said their decision was greatly influenced by the crucial role the show played in reducing isolation and boosting mental wellbeing, adding: “We think it is very important to hold the show for the social interaction of farmers and people who live in the countryside.”

From his own point of view, there were people he usually saw at this event that he did not see for the rest of the year. “We have all been stuck in our own patch for 12 months. To see them again will be massive.

“The most important thing is that we have a safe show. If we follow the guidelines in full there won’t be any need for any restrictions at all, but only time will tell,” he said.

“We would hope to run as near to normal a show as possible. The rules could change at any particular time.”

Mr Mills added: “We are very lucky that we have a very big site and we can spread things out. We can make them, in our view, quite safe. The problems would be where we have any gatherings.”

The YAS said previously that the decision to hold the show would be reviewed regularly and was based on the assumption that the whole country would successfully move from the current lockdown to step 4 in the Government’s road map on June 21.

Mr Mills conceded that show organisers were now “a little bit nervous” as they had relatively scant detail to work on. “At this stage the only thing we have got to follow is the road map and that’s pretty limited, apart from we have been given some dates.

“It usually takes the best part of 12 months to plan the show we are now given about five months. I would ask everyone to bear with us.” He could not yet comment in detail on how the show might look this year.

“Until we get the wheels turning properly, in the middle of this month or later in the month, we will not be able to say much more than we already have.”

The YAS has said any resumption of large events returning remains subject to the country’s ongoing progress in tackling the virus and the success of a series of pilot events planned by the Government this spring. It was exploring what the show programme could safely include and would release more details later.