Littleport Show Seeking Renewal

The new Town Sign for Littleport, Cambridgeshire. Commissioned by East Cambridgeshire District Council. Relief carved and painted oak panels.
The new Town Sign for Littleport, Cambridgeshire. Commissioned by East Cambridgeshire District Council.
Relief carved and painted oak panels. Jeremy Turner

17:48 Friday 25th January 2013
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[C]HRIS MANN: The future of the Littleport Show looks bleak, according to one of the Committee Members. The Show has been going for over 100 years, and usually attracts thousands of people, but of course last year the Show had to be cancelled. It seems there isn’t much support out there for it. Derek Timbers is one of the Committee Members, and joins me now. Hello Derek.
DEREK TIMBERS: Good evening.
CHRIS MANN: Last year, it was the floods, wasn’t it, that put paid to it.
DEREK TIMBERS: It was indeed. The ground was just saturated. We had no option but to cancel it, I’m afraid.
CHRIS MANN: Had a look at the pictures on the website of the ones before. It was a great event and enjoyed by all members of the family, and people from all round Cambridgeshire came to it. Just tell us what the essence of the Littleport Show is about Derek.
DEREK TIMBERS: It’s a family day out basically. It was a full day, and started at nine o’clock. Used to have the heavy horses for the older people. There’d be various activities during the day, giving shows, stunt shows we’d had over the years, all sorts of things. And it was a good chance to meet and greet and socialise. Things have changed I’m afraid.
CHRIS MANN: It was quite a major event in terms of equipment there, a hundred and fifty exhibitors and all the rest of it. So tell me, where has it gone wrong? Is it just the weather, or other things?
DEREK TIMBERS: No, I don’t think it’s just the weather. Last year’s cancellation hit us financially, but having said that we could still have put a show on. It just doesn’t seem that we’ve got the backing of enough help to put the Show on. We haven’t got a full Committee to run it. It needs quite a lot of people to actually put the Show on and get the thing up and running. I think unless you’ve been involved in something, you don’t realise how much work is involved. And for the half a dozen people we’ve got now as regular Committee Members, it’s just not viable to do it, to be honest about it. We just can’t get round it and do all the work in time.
CHRIS MANN: Of course when it was started a hundred years ago, people didn’t travel as much, and so every little town did have its own show, didn’t they?
DEREK TIMBERS: Absolutely. Every village had a village fete, and the Littleport Show was a big event. They would come, as you said earlier, come from all over the place to see it. But times have changed. There are several shows have gone under in the last few years, and unless there’s a drastic change in attitude, and help arrives, we won’t see the Littleport Show again, I don’t think.
CHRIS MANN: It’s a great shame. But perhaps you just have to accept that. Maybe there’s an alternative. You could combine with another village or town.
DEREK TIMBERS: There are always options. I’m not sure we’ve explored all the options yet. What we’re thinking about doing is just putting it on ice for a year or two, and see what happens over the next two or three years. We’re not giving up completely on the Littleport Show. Certainly not. That’s not what we want to do at all. Attitudes might change. Things might change. We might get one or two more people come through and be a full time Committee Member to help us. It would be a shame to just throw it all away. We’re certainly not doing a Show in 2013, this year. We’re certainly not doing one.
CHRIS MANN: So that’s definitely not happening.
DEREK TIMBERS: It’s definitely not happening this year. I can say that now. In the future, like I say we’re keeping our options open for the time being. It may be that we need to have some new blood. It may be we need to look at other options, and put a slightly different emphasis on it, and try and change the format a little bit. Sometimes, if things have been running so well for so many years, you can get a bit complacent, and just sit back and do the same things. And it may be that we need younger people perhaps. No disrespect to the older Members, but perhaps a few younger people, a few new ideas, and put on a Show with a slightly different format.
CHRIS MANN: Ok. Well that’s a possibility. And perhaps if people listening have some ideas, how would they contact you Derek?
DEREK TIMBERS: Well, the best way is to contact me, and we’ll have an initial chat, and we will invite them along to the AGM at the end of the year, and we’ll take it from there. We’re very happy. There are various people in Littleport they could contact, but if I give you my number, any initial contact can be through me. That’s not a problem at all.
CHRIS MANN: Well they can give us a call if they’d like to pass on their details. (see below) Derek, all the best for the future. We hope there is a Littleport Show in the future in whatever shape or form. Thank you for joining us.
DEREK TIMBERS: Thank you very much Chris.
CHRIS MANN: Cheers now. Derek Timbers there, one of the Committee Members of the Littleport Show.