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Game Fair revived just weeks after being cancelled

Wellesbourne Airfield
Wellesbourne Airfield

In the years in between it will be held at a yet-to-be-confirmed location elsewhere in the country.

The managing director of the company behind the revived fair, James Gower, has previously organised the London Boat Show and the Ideal Home Show. Mr Gower said it would continue to be a celebration of the rural industry, but would also be overhauled with a commercial angle to make it more attractive to a wider audience.

Among the new ideas are a revised ticket price structure, glamping alongside traditional camping, while negotiations are also taking place with celebrity chefs. It is expected to attract around 140,000 people and 800 exhibitors, with early tickets sales and exhibitors’ bookings said to be going well.

Mr Gower said: “The Game Fair is a fabulous British institution. I have seen other events held in the country either go elsewhere, or be eclipsed by similar ones in other countries, but there isn’t anywhere else the Game Fair could go, it’s so British.

“The CLA caused a huge sense of loss when they cancelled it because it is generally hugely successful, it is a show that has affection and support, but the complex way that the CLA works means they have been unable to make it work financially.

“Their costs were quite big, but we can be more entrepreneurial about it.We can organise it with a more commercial angle. Ragley is the ideal estate for the show, and Lord Hertford has been tremendously supportive.

“Events like this will also bring a substantial amount of money to the local economy, so we’re also delighted to be maintaining that for the area too.”

The decision to axe the show was made in September last year, much to the disappointment of business leaders.

Defending the decision, the CLA said it could no longer ask members to underwrite a loss-making event through their subscription fees.

Helen Woolley, director general, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received following the difficult decision to end the CLA Game Fair. We are confident that former supporters and exhibitors will be well served by the existing and new events planned for summer 2016 and we wish all the events every success.”

Harry Hertford, the 9th Marquess of Hertford and owner of Ragley Hall, added: “It is magnificent that this important event now has a clear way forward and we are of course delighted to be hosting the event again.”

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