THE Okehampton Show — a top one-day agricultural shop window — could be cancelled.

Organisers of the local show were aiming for Thursday, August 9 — foot and mouth permitting. But now they are reeling from the 'bombshell' news that the Devon County Show has opted for the same date.

As things stood the Okehampton Show committee felt their show would go ahead minus its usual entries of cattle, sheep and pigs. There would be horses and poultry and they were aiming to drum up a few more alternative attractions to ensure a good day out.

Okehampton Show chairman Bill Voaden said: 'Then there was this bombshell that they had taken our date. Now, the more I think about it the more impossible it might be to go ahead.

'People say they want to support us but they also feel they have to be at Devon County Show for the three-day period.

'We are not talking about a village fair — ours is one of the biggest one-day shows in the South West. We have held it in August for the last 50 years. Why didn't they consult with us? We are angry about the way they went about it.'

Show president Roger Alford said everyone was 'very annoyed' about the situation —it was a case of 'losing out to Big Brother'.

'We will do out best to keep going. The local farmers' loyalty will be to the Okehampton Show. But it will be very difficult because a lot of trade stands that come to Okehampton also go to the Devon County Show.

'We will have to put on our thinking hats and try to think of different things to put on,' he said.

Devon County Agricultural Assocation secretary Mervyn Hoskin said they had contacted members of the Okehampton Show committee before deciding on the new date.

'The last thing we want to be is bad neighbours — we are fellow show organisers so we know what life is like for them. We want to do something that will satisfy both causes.'

He said the Devon County Show mid-May dates were dropped because they felt it unwise to hold such a large public event at this time.

Okehampton Show officials were meeting yesterday (Wednesday) as the Times went to press.