Page last updated at 02:40 GMT, Saturday, 4 April 2009 03:40 UK

'Struggling' Royal Show is axed

The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince of Wales visit the show
The show has been visited by the Royalty on many occasions

The Royal Show, one of Britain's best-known annual farming events, will end this year because of falling visitor numbers, organisers have said.

The Royal Agricultural Society of England (Rase) said the Warwickshire event was no longer financially viable.

Trustees chairman Hugh Oliver Bellasis said the show would not continue in its present form after 2009.

He cited foot-and mouth, bad weather and bluetongue among causes for the difficulty in attracting visitors.

"I hope people will bid a fond farewell to an event that has long been held in great affection by farmers and others who work and live in the British countryside," he said.

Torrential rain

The show, held at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, has been one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

In 2006, the last time the Stoneleigh Park show was held over four days, a total of 130,000 visitors went. But the 2007 show was forced to close a day early because of torrential rain.

The final show - the 160th - will be held between 7 and 10 July.

Rase intends to create a new programme of events from 2010, including taking elements of the Royal Show for inclusion in other events.

BBC correspondent Tom Heap said the Royal Show had been overtaken by technical events that attracted more business interest, and other shows that pulled in bigger crowds.

Last year, he said, the Royal Welsh show had more than twice the numbers of the Stoneleigh event.

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