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Blow for rescue groups as Broughton Game Show is scrapped
Organisers of Broughton Game Show have decided to call an end to the popular annual event.
Rising insurance costs, health and safety issues and unpredictable weather have all been blamed on the death of the event which was first staged in 1978.
It has been the main fundraiser of Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation and Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association, based in Grassington, and over the years has raised around £325,000 to support the vital work of the two teams.
The show has developed into one of the largest and most popular in Craven’s social calendar.
The highlight was The Birdman Challenge, involving participants leaping across a 40ft river in the grounds of Broughton Hall in a variety of makeshift flying costumes.
Those attempting the feat and a chance to win the £1,000 prize money have included committee member David Aynesworth, who tried it every year, and Skipton MP Julian Smith. No-one was ever successful.
This year, the show had to be cancelled because it would have clashed with the journey through Skipton of the Olympic Torch Relay.
But even without the torch relay, the summer’s wet weather would have meant the event having to be cancelled because the site was waterlogged.
Chris Baker, one of the original organisers and a trustee of the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue, said the committee hoped people would understand why it had decided to call it a day.
The rising costs of staging the event had threatened in recent years to overcome the amount raised to support the work of the rescue organisations.
There were also increasing demands on health and safety requirements necessary to prevent successful claims being made against the organisers in the event of any mishap.
Mr Baker said the organising committee wanted to thank the public for its support over the years.
“We hope the public will understand the reasons behind this difficult decision and would like to thank them for their support, and also the many volunteers not directly connected with the rescue teams, without whom it could never have happened,” he said.
“Such a complex and labour-intensive show could never have been possible without the dedicated enthusiastic members of the two groups.”
Mr Baker paid tribute to all the volunteers who had devoted so much time to the event over the years.
“In this day and age, it is amazing that it has always been staffed 100 per cent by volunteers who we hope have brought to the public many very varied and enjoyable attractions and activities, “ he said.
The committee had considered continuing the event on a much smaller scale, but in the end ruled it out.
Committee chairman David Aynesworth, who came up with the original show idea, said the event would never have taken place without the agreement of Henry and Janet Tempest, owners of Broughton Hall, in 1978.
“They could not have been more understanding. They gave the committee great support and also never complained when we made a muddy mess of their grounds,” he said. “It has been an amazingly happy committee, which probably contributed greatly to the show’s success.”
The rescue teams, who on an average year received £20,000 from the event and rely solely on donations, will now have to look for funding elsewhere.