THE 2008 Alton Agricultural Show was a cracker – the livestock was first class, the exhibits were imaginative and varied, the atmosphere was great and there was much to do and see. The only thing not up to scratch on Sunday was the weather. It was a day of two parts – the morning's rain and wind kept the crowds away but, with the tardy arrival of the sun, people did turn out to enjoy what the show had to offer. It was a particularly poignant occasion for show president, Christopher Boreham, who had stepped up to the line following the sad and untimely death in September last year of his mother, Camilla Boreham, who was due to be this year's president. Camilla Boreham had been one of the tireless volunteers on whom all such shows rely and her son put out a plea for others in this mould to come forward so that the future of the Alton Show will be assured for some time to come. With 2008 being the Year of Food and Farming – a national campaign to help children find out more about the countryside and their food – the aim of this year's show was to give young visitors a firsthand opportunity to increase their knowledge. "Of course children need to know about food and farming throughout their lives, so visiting the show regularly means that they can continue to engage and grow up knowing more about healthy food and where it comes from." Mr Boreham pointed out that the weather was one of the things the North East Hampshire Agricultural Association was unable to control. "It is disappointing for the NEHAA committee, who put huge amounts of work into organising the show, and we are really grateful to those people who did turn up to support us. "The Alton Show is a very important part of the local scene and long may it remain so." Romsey-based cattle judge Steve Mitchell, who attends events up and down the country, was particularly impressed with the quality of the livestock and of the arena displays. "For a one-day show the main ring events are stunning. The display of tractors and farm machinery is one of the best I have ever seen – the huge combine drew gasps as people saw it coming in – it was a fantastic centre piece for British agriculture." Staggered by the quality of animals on display, Mr Mitchell sought to highlight the work and effort put in by exhibitors together with the cost of actually getting to the show. For this reason, and because events like this provide a vital showcase for agriculture, Steve Mitchell echoed the thoughts of the president, that support from the wider community was essential if shows like Alton are to survive.