Ham and fun-fair takings damaged by weather

PUBLISHED: 13:05 20 September 2008 | UPDATED: 11:11 17 June 2010

DESPITE the introduction of a £400,000 white-knuckle ride this year, Sidmouth s carnival fun-fair is set to make a loss of more than £2,000.

DESPITE the introduction of a £400,000 white-knuckle ride this year, Sidmouth's carnival fun-fair is set to make a loss of more than £2,000.

Anderton and Rowland Fair, which has been coming to Sidmouth for nearly 100 years, was blighted by driving rain.

The fair operated on two evenings and carnival day, but bad weather meant an early night for ride operators.

Owner Simon De Vey said there were queues for Freak Out, the new pendulum "extreme white-knuckle ride" but described Friday evening as "a disaster" with not many attending. Thursday night closed at 9pm because of the rain.

"To be honest I reckon we made a complete loss," he said.

"To run a fair of that size for two evenings and a day cost £3,000 in fuel, plus 20 staff working all hours to set up, ground rent and insurance, I anticipate a loss of £2,500.

"We are showmen, these things do happen at times and it doesn't mean it will put us off coming."

He and his father George attended Sidmouth Town Council's trustee meeting to discuss the state of the Ham field and match a £250 offer from FolkWeek organisers for grass re-seeding.

He told councillors: "We did what we could to come off the ground without causing major damage. There is surface damage and a few marks, but it is not a disaster.

"We are prepared to work with the town council to put everything right."

He said the Ham had not been in a very good condition before the fair arrived.

"We want to keep coming back for another 100 years and we want to try to solve the problem and do whatever we can to rectify it."

Councillors considered not hiring the area damaged until next year's FolkWeek, but agreed to an amended proposal not to make a "hard and fast rule" but to consider applications as they arose.

Councillor Ann Liverton said: "I remember when the folk festival was at Knowle and it looked like a ploughed field. Within two months it had recovered.

"I would hate to say no to the Scout fete just before FolkWeek."

Councillor Tony Reed said the ground had compacted and agreed with suggestions only lighter vehicles are allowed on to give the Ham time to rest.


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