Farm fayre blown off course

Whirlow Hall Farm Fayre....Maddison & Constance Brazil with 'Sally' trying out the Millhouses Dog Training Club obstacle course
Whirlow Hall Farm Fayre....Maddison & Constance Brazil with 'Sally' trying out the Millhouses Dog Training Club obstacle course
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Organisers of Whirlow Hall Farm Fayre - a key fundraising event for the charity giving children the experience of a working farm - were this week counting the cost of miserable weather on the big day.

Numbers of visitors were down by around half as wind and rain took its toll on the hilltop location, and proceeds were just over £13,000 compared with £17,500 last year.

Yet it was still a significant financial boost for the charity. “Taking everything into consideration we are happy with the profit made and are looking forward to the next events on the farm,” said head of fundraising and events, Sarah Kerrigan.

Another spin-off is an increase in farm shop sales.

Daunting weather forecasts for last Sunday are thought to have deterred many visitors. “The threat of the weather was probably worse than what it was,” said Sarah. “It probably put a lot of people off and they made other plans.”

Visitors numbers were “probably not half what we were hoping for based on previous years.

“But there was really positive feedback from the people who did come to support us. Everybody seemed to have a good time.”

More so than the rain, it was the wind that caused the problems.

A marquee for sponsors Vets For Pets was blown into another field, Punch and Judy and displays of African crafts found sanctuary in the large marquee, a bouncy castle and slide were wrapped up early and musicians were relocated from the bottom yard where an entrance was closed because it has become a wind tunnel.

“We are very high and exposed, and we were fighting against the wind most of the day,” said Sarah. “But you just get on with it. It’s what you face when you are doing an outdoor event. It was very unfortunate. We were very unlucky with the weather, but we did all we could.”

The focalpoint, as usual was a large craft marquee, alongside displays of birds of prey and dog training, a battle re-enactment by Escafeld Medieval Society, live cookery demonstrations, a chance to see the farm animals and, new this year, an antiques marquee.

‘Beer and Banger’ comedy nights on October 5 and 26.