Farmers gear up for Christmas fair

Thousands of farmers across the country are gearing up for the Royal Smithfield Christmas Fair - the new livestock event at the Bath & West Showground next month.

The new event, taking place in Shepton Mallet, Somerset on 1 and 2 December, has been developed following the cancellation of this year's Royal Smithfield Show that had been scheduled to take place in London at the end of this month.

The Christmas Fair will be centred around what was the centrepiece of the historic old show, the traditional Royal Smithfield Club's livestock competitions that has, over the years, showcased the country's top livestock, and the services and products related to the livestock and meat industries.

The Royal Bath & West of England Society and the Royal Smithfield Club are now putting the finishing touches to the two-day event. Support has been 'phenomenal', claim the organisers, with entries from nearly 200 exhibitors from all over the country.

Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal will tour the fair on the morning of the first day, and will present the awards for the Young Farmers' Cattle and Sheep Classes and their Championship Trophies.

Dr Jane Guise, chief executive of the Royal Bath & West of England Society, said she was delighted that Her Royal Highness has pledged to visit. "We are establishing a new event, so her visit will help to raise its profile and her willingness to help is seen as a compliment to the meat sector which has lived through such difficult times."

Lloyds TSB Agriculture sponsors a Meat Industry Dinner on the evening of the first day of the show, with the drinks reception beforehand sponsored by MTJ.