LURGAN Show will kick off this summer’s series of regional shows when it once again opens the gates of Lurgan Park for visitors on Saturday, June 4.
After a two year break caused by the Covid pandemic, organisers are looking forward to a successful event despite the difficult financial situation caused by the two-year absence.
Show secretary Michele Doran, speaking at the show’s official launch at Craigavon Civic Centre last week, urged DAERA Minister Edwin Poots, present as the guest speaker, to give the shows immediate access to the promised £200,000 fund announced just as the Assembly went into recess in the run-up to the election.
Michele told the assembled gathering that the running of the show takes some £40,000 and with some major sponsors failing to return to support the event, it creates a huge gap in finances. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to attract new sponsors despite Lurgan being central to the ‘Food Heartland’. “It would be a shame if Balmoral was left as the last show standing” she said.
She also called for support for local shows similar to that received in the Republic.
Mr Poots, in response, reiterated the importance of having shows back again and that the bounce-back scheme offers £10,000 funding for each show and, while acknowledging this would be of considerable help to the shows, he said that it is important that public money is properly accounted for. Show organisers must therefore go through a complex application procedure before any support is granted.
He also accepted that local shows are essential for local communities and offer an opportunity for exhibitors who can’t afford to go to Balmoral Show to reach their local community.
Mr Poots also referred to his previous announcement of a review of local shows and their benefits, revealing that this will be led by Welshman Aled Jones.
Lead sponsor at this year’s Lurgan Show will be Translink and Aiden Smyth outlined the company’s latest project in the area, the Lurgan to Portadown cable renewable project, which should be completed early next year.
Each year Lurgan Show chooses a charity to support and this time it will be getting behind Leukemia and Lymphoma NI, with Tom Mallon explaining that the charity is dedicated to raising funds for blood cancer research. It is the third biggest cancer killer in the UK with three people diagnosed each day. All funds raised are spent locally.
William Irvine, deputy president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, added his support to local shows saying they are an important part of rural life, introducing children to livestock and where their food comes from.
The formal part of the show launch concluded with thanks from show chairman Winston Humphries.
Schedules for the show are now available online at www.lurganshow.co.uk and feature an extensive range of classes for cattle, sheep, horses and goats. Entries close on May 17. Poultry classes are dependant on the lifting of bird flu restrictions. There will be no home industries this year due to the unavailability of Kings Park Primary School due to Covid restrictions.
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