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New stakes classes

THE LAUNCH of the new East of England Championship Dog Show (2008) took place in the Cambridge Suite at the East of England Agricultural Society’s showground on Tuesday January 22, where members of the press, the Kennel Club, and trade stand holders gathered to hear chief executive Andrew Mercer’s presentation.

Entrance hallProceedings were opened by chairman John Orbell, who was joined by the new Dog Show Secretary, Mrs Jill Broadberry, who you will know by now has taken over from her mother, Mrs Pearl Crocker, who sadly died in December. Pearl held this position for more than 20 years, and was involved in the planning of the new look dog show.

If you went to the East of England Dog Show last year, you will already know about the ‘new’, hard-standing car park which can accommodate 2,000 vehicles – this on top of the 23-space coach park; and you would have noticed the extensive building works near the entrance to the show, which were already well underway. This was the shell of the ‘state of the art’ 60,000 sq ft, high quality, air-conditioned exhibition halls, which was named ‘Exec Peterborough’ by the Duke of Gloucester at the Country Show last year.

David Roe and Kathryn SymmThis fabulous new facility, which cost about £8.5 million, consists of a glass-domed Atrium area of approximately 10,000 sq ft, which has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the main entrance; and a massive, acoustic-friendly, well lit main hall which covers an area of 50,000 sq ft. This main hall also boasts two glass-fronted commentary cubicles (from which Andrew and Jill were photographed by Bill Moores on the day – see OUR DOGS page 2 last week). These new exhibition halls are immediately adjacent to the existing Peterborough and Cambridge Suites, which are now joined by a covered walkway.

This main exhibition hall will be the home of the dog show’s BIS and two stakes rings, which will not only afford exhibitors a comfortable and dry end to the show, it will offer them a food and bar area with tables and chairs, a small benching area, and plenty of viewing areas, including a grandstand.

The 60,000 sq ft hallThree new ‘Pearl Crocker stakes’ classes will be classified at the show this year – Post Graduate, Special Beginners, and Brace – all of which will carry prize money each day of £100/1st, £80/2nd, £60/3rd, £40/4th, and £20/5th!

To maintain the friendly, country character of this popular summer show, the 28 breed rings will remain under cover of the wide-span marquees in their current position; and the benching will be situated in the sheds, as in the past. There is a new hard standing area at the top end of this part of the showground – by the ‘Northern Works’ (also home of the Festival of Hunting) – which will accommodate an outside food court.

The East of England Showground – which covers an area of approximately 240 acres in total – is a registered charity which was formed in 1970 by merger of the Cambridgeshire & Isle of Ely (1863), Huntingdonshire (1837) and Peterborough (1797) agricultural societies; they were joined in 1971 by Bedfordshire AS (1801), and in 1972 by Northamptonshire AS (1848). Long Sutton AS (1837) remains independent, and is affiliated for show purposes only.

‘Exec Peterborough’ (or parts thereof) will be available to hire for events as diverse as boxing, car shows, Holiday on Ice, indoor horse shows, dogs shows etc; and these new facilities will open up the use of the showground – which already attracts about 850,000 visitors per year - beyond the fair-weather months between May and September, as has been the case in the past.
As far as I know the first breed club event to take place at the new indoor facility will be the Irish Setter Association Centenary Show.

To find out more about the charity, the East of England Dog Show, and/or its facilities, you can phone 01733 234451, fax 01733 370038, e-mail, or look on the website:

Sally pointon