Farmers gear up for Royal Smithfield Christmas Fair

Thousands of farmers across the country are gearing up for the Royal Smithfield Christmas Fair - the new livestock event at the Bath & West Showground next month.

Just under 800 animals - including 312 cattle and 459 sheep as well as pigs - have been entered for the Fair at the Showground, at Shepton Mallet, Somerset on 1 and 2 December chasing more than £100,000 worth of prize money and historic trophies.

The new event has been developed following the cancellation of this year's Royal Smithfield Show that had been scheduled to take place in London at the end of this month.

The Christmas Fair will focus around what was the centrepiece of the historic old Show, the traditional Royal Smithfield Club's livestock competitions that has, over the years, showcased the country's top livestock, and the services and products related to the livestock and meat industries.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will tour the Fair on the morning of the first day, and will present the awards for the Young Farmers' Cattle and Sheep Classes and their Championship Trophies.

Lloyds TSB Agriculture sponsors a Meat Industry Dinner on the evening of the first day of the Show, with the drinks reception beforehand sponsored by the Meat Trades Journal and MTJ Extra. The guest speaker will be Baroness Byford, the Shadow Minister for Food and Rural Affairs. During the evening the Royal Smithfield Club Bicentenary Award will be presented - in recognition of an individual or company's significant contribution for the benefit of the British meat industry. The first recipient of the Award in 2000 was the architect of the investigation into agriculture that forms current farming policy Don Curry.

Tomorrow (Friday 24 November) is the final day that advance tickets for the Fair can be booked on the credit card hotline on 01749 822 222. Advanced Saver Tickets are £10 for adults (£15 on the gate), £8 for Concessions and Students (£12 on the gate). There is free entry for children aged 15 and under, and free entry for members of the Royal Smithfield Club and the Royal Bath & West of England Society. Tickets will be available on the gates at the show, which is open from 8.30am to 6pm Friday and Saturday.

Further information can be obtained from the Bath & West Showground on 01749 822 200 or on www.bathandwest.com Bus shuttle services will be available from and to Bristol International Airport, Bristol Temple Meads Station and Castle Cary Station.

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