ORGANISERS of the Great Yorkshire Show admitted last night they had no insurance to help cover a £2m bill after rain forced the cancellation of this year’s event.

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), the charity that organises the country’s premier rural event, said it will take years to recover after cancelling the show after only one day.

Torrential rain had hit the already waterlogged site, creating treacherous conditions in the car parks and leaving traders and motorists needing towing on and off the site.

In a meeting yesterday, the society decided to reimburse 600 showground businesses two-thirds of the cost of their stands – equivalent to the two days they lost.

That bill will amount to £700,000. The total cost the charity now faces is expected to be about £2m in ticket refunds, remedial work to the car parks during the show, cancelled attractions and displays.

Nigel Pulling, chief executive of YAS, said the society was not planning to scale back next year’s show, but admitted it will now have to watch its finances “very closely”.

“It will be a delicate balance,”

he said.

“As far as next year’s Great Yorkshire Show is concerned, it will be back bigger and better than the year before – but we will be watching our finances closely because they’ve suffered a big hit.”

Mr Pulling said the cost would have to be met by the charity’s reserves.

He said: “We aren’t insured.

“The cost of the £700,000 reimbursed fees will come from our reserves.

“Like many charities we have financial reserves to cover situations like rainy days and this was a rainy day.”

The charity had no legal obligation to reimburse traders but felt morally compelled to help traders already suffering financially from the many other events cancelled because of the wet weather.

Measures are also to be taken to make sure that next year’s car park will be more resilient to wet weather.

It is the first time since the show was launched in 1837 that visitors have been turned away because of the weather.

Organisers had hoped to attract about 130,000 visitors from across the country to the three-day event, which cost more than £2m to stage.

In the days leading up to the event, organisers laid extra hardstanding, created a new access road, laid hundreds of yards of tracking and increased the number of shuttle buses. But it was not enough to counterbalance the deluge of rain.

Organisers saw a year’s worth of planning lost and described the decision to cut it short as “heartbreaking”.

Rural campaign group the Countryside Alliance, which had a stand at the event, is so concerned at the cost to businesses that it gathered the web addresses of all the traders who were due to exhibit.

It has listed them on its website ( to create a virtual Great Yorkshire Show to help traders get rid of stock.

Simon Hamlyn, from the Countryside Alliance, said: “We understand completely the reason behind the cancellation.

“I think most people are praying that the weather in August improves considerably in comparison to July, because I do think if other shows are cancelled some businesses might struggle to survive.”