By sophie wyllie
Monday, August 6, 2012
Organisers of the Wayland Show could seek a six-figure sum in compensation after they were forced to make an 11th-hour cancellation at the weekend.
The family event, which is in its 139th year, was due to take place yesterday (Sunday) in Watton.
But organisers called off the show at about 8.30pm on Saturday (August 4) after raw sewage flowed on to the site when lightning put a nearby Anglian Water pumping station out of action.
Graham Shingfield, chairman of the show committee, said the financial damage was likely to run into six figures.
He added the decision to close the show was made by committee members and they were not insured against such an event.
Mr Shingfield said: “An Anglian Water employee on site gave general information that no people should be allowed on polluted ground with effluent on it for 24 hours.
“If they (Anglian Water) had not cleaned up sufficiently we would not have had the time to inform stallholders and visitors in the morning. From a safety point of view we were stuffed whatever we did.”
He said the committee could not take the risk when more than 15,000 were expected at the show, which raised £24,000 for charities last year.
Ciaran Nelson, Anglian Water spokesman, said the company was in “conversation” with the show committee and were helping them clean marquees on the site, but it was too early to talk about compensation.
Mr Nelson added: “We want to do the right thing. We didn’t set out to ruin people’s day. It was raining tremendously hard all over the place on Saturday and flooding from the pumping station exacerbated the flood.”
The sewage mainly went into ditches on the site and an area near the visitor entrance which was cleared up by 1.30am on Sunday, according to Anglian Water.
But Mr Shingfield said the sewage covered 250 metres of the lower part of the site.
For information about refunds, visit www.waylandshow.com