SO many people attended the 20th Rural Pastimes event at Euston Park that their crowd counters broke down.
The event’s vice-chairman, Canon Sally Fogden, said: “It went very well and we had record attendance. We tried counting people with clickers, but they collapsed so we don’t know how many there were.”
Money raised from the event goes to local churches and to Bury St Edmunds’ St Nicholas Hospice Care and, over the years, it has raised £370,000 for them.
The event always attracts a large number of classic cars, vintage tractors and traction engines while the pre-mechanical age was again well represented with Clydesdale, Shire, Percheron and Suffolk Punch heavy horse breeds.
As Lady Euston’s breeds Suffolk Punches, they are always a big part of the event with several classes and this year, with 45 taking part, there was nearly a tenth of the UK population of the rare breed attending.
At the other end of the equine scale were World Horse Welfare’s racing Shetland ponies.
The event is one of the occasions on which the estate’s St Genevieve’s Church is open to the public and it was filled with displays of flowers. Canon Fogden said: “This year it was a tribute to the late Duke of Grafton to celebrate his life with all the things that were part of it from his love of dogs to Windsor Castle in flowers, which almost went up to the roof.”
The event was opened by the 12th Duke of Grafton, ‘Duke Harry’, the late duke’s grandson.
Two new attractions were The Sheep Show, a humorous but educational explanation of everything sheep, including dancing ewes, and Wilf Brown’s dancing JCB display.
A more graceful display came from a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire.