The Odiham Fire Show, said to be the largest of its kind in the country, has been cancelled, leaving charities out of pocket.
Organisers have called off the event, which was meant to take place at the start of next month, due to the condition of the show’s site in a field off the A287 in North Warnborough. Launched in 1992 by the crew of Odiham Fire Station, this is not the first time the event has had to be cancelled. In 2012 the show was called off following heavy rainfall earlier that summer, flooding the venue.
Event organiser Linda L’enfant said the same situation had occurred: “We cannot use the field as the area has been flooded over the last year and has not recovered. We cannot drive on the site.”
The annual event attended by around 8,000 people, raises money for The Fire Fighters Charity and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and, since its inception, it has raised £90,000.
Both charities are disappointed to hear the show has been cancelled once again, but appreciate the funding it has provided in the past.
Sally Hillyear, assistant director of fundraising for The Fire Fighters Charity, said: “Everyone here shares the disappointment of the event organisers that they are having to cancel this year’s Odiham Fire Show.
“The hugely popular show normally raises more than £10,000, which is spilt between ourselves and other good local causes.
“It costs over £8 million a year to keep The Fire Fighters Charity running. With no government funding, we rely completely on donations and goodwill.”
She added that retained firefighter Mick Paull and the show organising committee are ‘long-standing and loyal supporters’ of the charity, adding: “We are most grateful for their continued efforts to fundraise for us in other ways.
“It is thanks to such fantastic support that we are able to continue our vital work – helping keep fire fighters fit and healthy so they can continue saving lives.”
The Fire Fighters Charity is the UK’s leading provider of services that enhance quality of life for serving and retired firefighters, personnel and their families.
John Perry, chief executive of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, said: “We are very sorry to hear that the Odiham Fire Show has been cancelled this year as we have always had a great response from members of the public when we have attended in previous years.”
The air ambulance, with running costs in excess of £125,000 each month, provides a prompt helicopter emergency medical service, and is funded solely by donations.
Each year up to 200 fire engines and emergency vehicles descend on Odiham and take part in drills and displays of fire fighting through the ages from the 19th Century right up until the present day.
A spokesman for the event said: “Thank you to everyone for your continued support. We hope to see you in 2015.”