The CLA Game Fair, the biggest event in the countryside calendar, was cancelled following days of heavy rain which left ground waterlogged and exhibitors unable to set up.

The show, which would have taken place this weekend at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, was expected to attract around 140,000 visitors and generate £32million for the local economy.

More than 1,000 exhibitors were due to take part, and many are now worried about the financial implications of yet another cancellation in a desperately difficult showgoing summer.

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CLA director general Helen Woolley said: ?I am extremely sad to say the heavy rain in the runup to this year?s CLA Game Fair has left us with no choice but to take the heartbreaking decision to cancel the show.?

?It is a devastating blow for the CLA team, contractors, exhibitors, and the hordes of visitors and guests who make The CLA Game Fair the world?s greatest country show.?

Even before the official announcement, the future of the event had been in doubt, with stand construction teams falling behind schedule following the closure of the exhibitor entrance because of the soggy ground.

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Mrs Woolley said staff at the site had worked tirelessly to make the event happen, ?battling the elements from dawn to dusk?.

?They have really gone the extra mile,? she said, ?putting everything into giving the show its best possible chance of going ahead. Sadly, you can?t always buck the weather and, with the exceptionally high level of rain in the weeks running up to the show, it has proved impossible to run the event safely.?

David Bonner from stand builders EPL visited the site, and told Shooting Times that the right decision had probably been made: ?When we got there, conditions were pretty appalling,? he said.

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?We were kept off the grass, and it did improve, but then the rain returned and another four or five days of rain were forecast.?

?To give the organisers their due, they tried their very best to get the show going ? they did everything in their power, but it proved too much.?

?Had the exhibitors arrived for the build-up this week, it would?ve been carnage. There would have been accidents, so this was probably the wise course of action.?

Game Fair director Andrew Crawford has encouraged advance ticket holders to visit to apply for refunds.