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Game Fair to bring £30m boost to the economy

The Game Fair at Ragley Hall Photo: Mark Williamson.
The Game Fair at Ragley Hall Photo: Mark Williamson.

THE local economy will benefit from a £30million boost thanks to the three-day Game Fair, which is held at Ragley Hall later this month, writes Eleanor Beckett.

The 60th anniversary event is taking place from Friday, 27th July, to Sunday, 29th July, and is expected to bring 120,000 visitors, along with 4,000 staff during the site's construction.

The fair will showcase the countryside, including shooting, fishing, as well as equine demonstrations and other displays, as well as glamping, celebrity chefs, and a shopping village.

There will also be a Warwickshire Pavilion which will showcase businesses and organisations from across the county.

It is held every year, but since it was taken over by a private company from the Country Land and Business Association in 2016 it has rotated between Ragley Hall and Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, where last year it generated £30million, with an estimated £2million spent on accommodation in the area.

Accommodation providers in the region have already reported few vacancies for this year.

Beckie Vizor, from the nearby Throckmorton Inn, said the event is definitely good for business.

"We’ve been fully booked for The Game Fair weekend for a while," she said.

Stratford-on-Avon MP, Nadhim Zahawi, also welcomed its return to south Warwickshire.

“I know how much this event is looked forward to and this is a testament to its importance for rural communities here in my constituency and beyond.

"The economic boost it will give to rural Warwickshire this year is extremely welcome."

The Game Fair was first held in 1958 in Stetchworth, East Cambridgeshire, when the CLA hosted 8,000 visitors for a two-day festival, which has travelled through various countryside destinations since, including Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Leeds, and Powys, Wales.

The CLA decided to drop it from its calendar in 2016 after claiming it could no longer financially support running the event.

But it went ahead as normal that year after being quickly taken into a new operators hands.

James Gower, the managing director of the new organisation running the event, said: “We expect this year’s 60th anniversary event to be bigger than ever before.

"The economic impact that will have on rural Warwickshire this year, and again when the event returns in 2020, is enormous.”

See this week's Stratford Herald for your chance to win tickets to The Game Fair and read an interview with Lord Hertford, the owner of Ragley Hall in July's Focus magazine, which is free with Thursday's paper.

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