Wayland Show seeks sewage leak compensation

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Media captionWayland Show chairman Graham Shingfield said the event had to be cancelled

Organisers of a Norfolk agricultural show have said it may be the last if it fails to secure compensation following its cancellation at the weekend.

The 139th Wayland Agricultural Show, near Watton, was called off when raw sewage seeped on to the field after a pumping station failed.

Anglian Water cleared up the site, but organisers were advised to wait 24 hours before using the field.

The two sides are now in discussion over compensation.

Show committee chairman Graham Shingfield said: "Anglian Water didn't tell us to pull the show, they gave us advice. We also spoke to health and safety in order to take our decision.

"Although they offered to clean up, as the show organisers we couldn't guarantee they'd clean everything sufficiently to ensure our many thousands of visitors would be safe the next day.

"We're devastated, but felt we had no other option. It's a huge loss."

'Show may finish'

Organisers were expecting more than 15,000 visitors to the show, one of the oldest one-day agricultural shows in England.

Run by volunteers, the event has to have enough funds in reserve to cover one show being cancelled in order, by law, to operate.

Image caption Diluted sewage added to general flooding

"If we use all the money refunding businesses, paying hire charges and staff there'll be nothing left in our reserves and that means as a society we're not allowed to carry on - that is the law," said Mr Shingfield.

"That is why the show may have to finish."

Anglian Water has accepted the failure of the pump due to an electrical storm was to blame for sewage appearing on the site.

Spokesman Ciaran Nelson said: "We're going to carry on the conversation around compensation with the show organisers and do what we can to help them out.

"I'm very aware it's a popular local event and contributes a lot to the local community and local charities.

"We've already spoken to the organisers today, and we hope that is the beginning of an ongoing dialogue."

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