Bad weather has caused Wigan’s annual agricultural spectacular to be axed - a whole four months before it was due to take place.
Disappointed organisers of the popular Haigh, Aspull and Blackrod Show pulled the plug on the 2017 August event after deciding that the grounds where it takes place were not going to have recovered enough from the last one.
An emergency meeting was held on the eve of the 2016 show because torrential rain had turned the Windmill Field on Copperas Lane, Haigh, into a quagmire.
But it was decided to press ahead and the weather improved as the days went by and tons of straw helped to make the muddy land more navigable under foot and tyre.
But it came at a cost, and now the organising committee has concluded that the fields need longer to recover than this summer will allow.
The show itself, which takes months of planning, has been shelved for a year although there are plans still to host a now traditional Friday night party which in previous years has involved activities such as a ho-down, bucking bronco and hog roast.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, chairman Phil Johnson said: “It is with much sadness and regret that the committee of Haigh, Aspull and Blackrod Agricultural Society in collaboration with the Forster family (Windmill field owners), have taken the extremely difficult decision that the 2017 annual summer show will not now go ahead.
“As many people involved in last year’s show will attest, the wet weather immediately before the show was unrelenting and show weekend activities resulted in considerable ground damage.
“It is the committee and landowner’s view that both the Windmill and adjacent car parking fields will not have recovered sufficiently to withstand the rigours of this year’s show.
“We have made this decision early to enable trades and exhibitors to make alternative arrangements.
“The society is currently in a healthy financial position and intent on taking that strength forward to present a bigger and better show on August 19, 2018.
“We will continue with our fund-raising activities throughout the next year and are currently planning our traditional Friday night ‘shindig’. Please check our website for further details.
“We would like to thank all our supporters and look forward to seeing you in 2018 if not before.”
It is the nature of agricultural shows that they can fall prey to the elements.
This is far from the first time that the Haigh Show has succumbed to them over the decades, although never at so early a point in the preparations.
There have been several last-minute cancellations and for a period the event moved to another site.
But it had enjoyed several rejuvenated years at the Windmill Field, attracting thousands of visitors not only coming to see the livestock shows and equestrian events but also take part in games and participate in food and craft competitions.