STOKESLEY AGRICULTURAL SHOW, the largest one day show in North Yorkshire, has decided to cancel its event in September.

Every year, more than 20,000 visitors flock to the show, which has more than 5,000 entries throughout the showground.

"We couldn't guarantee the safety of everyone," said secretary, Janette Hugill. "It would be impossible to social distance, and health and safety is very important to us. If one person became ill from being at the show it would be devastating. We have hung on as long as we can, a lot of the organisation has been done, but it is what it is, and we can look forward to next year."

Neal Waters, chairman of Stokesley Agricultural Society, added: "Following much consultation, the management committee of Stokesley Show have taken the extremely difficult decision to cancel the 2020 show. Sadly, due to social distancing and government guidelines we were really left with no option.

"We are already planning for 2021 and intend to provide an extra special show day. May I thank all our stewards, volunteers, judges, committee and society members for not only the hard work in previous years but their continued support in these difficult times.

"Please be assured we are using this ‘gap year’ to carry out improvements to the show field, completing drainage programmes along with bridge maintenance and a painting project and we look forward to welcoming everyone back for the 2021 show on September 18."

There could have been a financial problem because of the cancellation, but the contractors they have booked year upon year have been unanimous in transferring the deposits the society have sent over to 2021. "They have all been brilliant," said Janette, who sent out more than 2,000 letters to all the participants, cancelling the event.

The show began in 1859, as a result of a meeting of the Stokesley Agricultural Society, held at the Golden Lion Inn, Stokesley, on March 12. It has only been cancelled three times, during the two World Wars, and more recently in 2001, because of Foot and Mouth Disease.

President, Plym Auty said: "I have been involved with the show for very many years and whilst we have suffered from hot weather, cold weather, rain and mud this is the first time we have had to cancel in these circumstances. Whilst being an understandable decision it will give the council extra time to prepare for an exceptional show next year. I am delighted to have been asked to again be the president for next year's show following the cancellation, and look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends whilst touring the exhibits. Roll on September 18, 2021!"