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Lowther horse driving trials and show cancelled for good

Lowther Show has been cancelled permanently, after organisers decided it was no longer financially viable.

Lowther Show photo
Drivers are told of the show's cancellation in 2008

The show was cancelled this year because downpours in 2008 – which forced the show to be cut short by one day – had left the ground saturated and unfit for use a year later.

Large financial losses were incurred but organisers had insisted that the show would return in 2010.

In a statement, however, organisers blamed rising costs, the recession and bad weather for the decision to call it off for good, which they said had been taken “with enormous sadness and regret.”

The three-day event attracted around 40,000 people.

Show director Robert Benson said: “A number of factors including the recession, increasing costs and decreasing income combined with changing weather patterns, enforcing a change in the layout and reduction in the size of the show, mean that it is no longer viable.

“This is a massive blow for all concerned, for Cumbria and for the north west.

“It had always been hoped to stage the return of the event in 2010 but it is now clear that the event in its traditional format and in the park at Lowther is no longer viable.”

The show is a tenant of the Lowther Estate and the show has charitable aims which it believes would now be “impossible” to fill.

Since it began in 1973, it has made donations of over £250,000 to countryside charities and the sport of carriage driving.

David Taylor, chief executive of Lowther Estates, said: “All of us at Lowther are sad to see the end of the Lowther Driving Trials and Country Fair, which Lowther Estate has hosted since the event began in 1973.

“Recently, many shows have suffered from unpredictable weather patterns, lower attendances and lower revenues, increasing costs, health and safety burdens and now, the economic downturn.

“The show chairman Robert Benson and the Lowther Driving Trials organisers have taken the courageous decision to wind up the show for the benefit of the charities it supports.”

Mr Taylor insisted that the estate was “determined” to find a major event to succeed the show in 2011, and was hoping to hold the 2011 World Sheepdog Trials as well as continue its association with the Kendal Calling music festival, held at Lowther for the first time this year.

It was announced yesterday that next year’s Cumberland Show will be held at Carlisle Racecourse. The show has been moved from the city’s Rickerby Park after heavy rain and flooding saw the cancellation of this year’s event.


Have your say

Sad, Lowther was a great show that we loved going 2

Posted by J.P Prescott on 8 August 2010 at 19:44

'Thank You' News&Star for publishing my letter 'Horses are our lifeblood' in much support of Lowther Horse Driving Trials and hopefully all Cumbrian shows at risk with fewer livestock sections. My GGF emigrated to USA and came back saying that "England was the best country in world for farming". One of return reasons apart from wifes death in US was his love of animals, which I assume giving timescale would have included horses. Get the show back running and invite the Duke for his love of the horse trials. I'm sure rural Cumbria has another suitable location - Extend a countryside course near Carlisle Racecourse with its well provided facilities.

Posted by Roy Gadsby (60) on 24 November 2009 at 13:51

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