The organisers of the 49th annual CLA Game Fair, due to be held at Harewood House this week, yesterday took the difficult decision to cancel the event following persistent rain over the weekend.

The latest rain, following weeks of downpours, has made the site unuseable with standing water lying in many areas of the Harewood Estate. Despite the enormous efforts of the team to create supplementary drainage and miles of metal tracking for vehicle access, the decision was made yesterday to cancel the event. The decision was taken on safety grounds before contractors and exhibitors, including Shooting Times, Shooting Gazette, The Field and Sporting Gun, started setting up the show today.

Apart from the enormous disappointment the 130,000 estimated visitors will feel, the devastating decision will have a severe economic impact both in the local area surrounding the show site and on the many exhibitors for whom the CLA Game Fair is the principal event of the country show season.

The overall economic impact of the cancellation will be in the region of £50million.

This was the expected spend for both inside the show and in the local region surrounding Harewood following an economic impact survey undertaken by Bournemouth University last year.

The chairman of the CLA Game Fair board, Vincent Hedley Lewis, stated yesterday: “Ourselves aside, our hearts go out to all the people who’s livelihood is going to be affected by our not being able to go ahead. We have truly done all we could to keep the show going for everyone’s sake. To proceed this week with the wet conditions we are experiencing would be a health and safety risk as well as an even greater financial loss to the hundreds of businesses and individuals who support us each year. We were not defeated by foot and mouth in 2001 but the rain has defeated us this summer.”

Camilla Clark, editor of Shooting Times, commented: “This is a devastating decision ? we know only too well how hard the organisers have worked to try and put on the show but the latest rains were the last straw. The Game Fair is our biggest event of the year, the best opportunity we have of getting out there and meeting our readers direct, and for that to be wrenched away at the last minute is desperately disappointing.”

Should you have bought tickets in advance and wish to apply for a refund please send your tickets and a self addressed stamped envelope to Kristian Percy, The Country Land and Business Association, 16 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8PQ.

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