Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 13:56 UK

Royal Welsh cash call after loss

Crowds at the Royal Welsh Show
Last year's show was badly hit by "atrocious weather"

The Royal Welsh Show is calling on the assembly government to provide more financial backing for the event.

The show, Wales' premier agricultural event, lost more than 170,000 last year because of bad weather.

It was the first time the four-day show held every July at Llanelwedd in Powys had finished in the red for 33 years.

The assembly government said it worked "extremely closely" with the Royal Welsh each year and did give it a financial contribution.

Alun Evans, chairman of the council of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, said at present the assembly government's contribution was via sponsorship and tenancy fees.

Mr Evans said the "prestigious event" attracted visitors from many parts of the world, with 51 countries represented at last year's show.

The Royal Welsh is a platform for the best that is Welsh on an international stage
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones

"The Royal Welsh is the most popular event in Wales and attracts a lot of people. It is a shop window for Wales that is I think second to none in terms of what the countryside produces in Wales," he said.

"We constantly develop that showground. We invested 0.5m a few years ago to improve the site.

"We want to make the show far more secure for the future and our income more assured.

"We're looking for financial support comparable perhaps to what goes towards other organisations that hold functions in Wales."

Mr Evans said it was able to function annually because it had had sufficient money to reinvest into the showground.

Royal Welsh Show
The puddle-strewn main ring bore the brunt of the bad weather

"Last year was a difficult year and cost us an awful lot of money but despite that we had over 200,000 people there.

"Our costs are increasing alarmingly and therefore we need to protect the future of the show."

However, ahead of a meeting with the assembly government, he declined to say how much money the organisation would like to receive.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones told BBC Wales: "I'm keen to have a discussion with the Royal Welsh to see what their concerns are for the future and how and if the assembly government can provide support for that future.

'Big success'

"I accept that the Royal Welsh is a platform for the best that is Welsh on an international stage and I'm keen to see that that grows into the future, and that any financial difficulties that they have had doesn't jeopardise its future.

"I only became aware yesterday that they were keen to raise this with me and I'm keen to give them the opportunity."

An assembly government spokesperson said: "The Welsh Assembly Government work extremely closely with the Royal Welsh Show every year to ensure the show can be as big a success as possible.

"We provide a financial contribution through our presence and other areas of the show such as the food hall.

The spokesperson added: "We offer the Council of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show regular meetings to discuss any issues that we may be able to help with and would always be happy to discuss their business plans."

• Last month the show revealed its first loss in 33 years but said it had handled "atrocious weather conditions that wiped out a number of less resilient events".

Cancelling the show, which had 200,000 visitors, would have been "disastrous," the chairman's report said, bringing losses of up to 4m.

The report said the society was able to cope with the loss because of the success of recent years.

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