Today’s fabulous Fleet Country Show pulls in the crowds

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Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland was brought to life at Fleet Country Show today (Sunday) with a magical woodland walk to the Mad Hatter’s tea party shaded by a tree-top canopy.

The show was held in the magnificent gardens of Battleford Hall, the former Fleet Rectory dating back to 1854 when the then rector, James Jerram, was in residence.

Grown-ups having fun at the Mad Hatter's tea party. Pictured (from left) are Graham and June Bowskill and Dr Marian Hartigan. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG020815-110TW

Grown-ups having fun at the Mad Hatter's tea party. Pictured (from left) are Graham and June Bowskill and Dr Marian Hartigan. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG020815-110TW

The gardens are gradually being restored to the way they would have looked in Victorian times by owner Peter Day and provided a colourful backdrop to the show, which was moved from its old date to coincide with the gardens looking at their beautiful best.

Peter said: “I don’t think we will ever finish (the restoration). That’s the great thing – I don’t think you are ever finished.”

Children and adults loved the Alice in Wonderland trail, owners and canine companions competed in pedigree and fun dog shows, footballers tried to ‘beat the goalie’ and there were some amazing entries in the produce and craft shows.

Live band Fazed entertained crowds who sipped tipples in the sunshine or enjoyed the best of the barbecue fare.

Jessica Hall and Sam ready for the dog show. SG020815-104TW

Jessica Hall and Sam ready for the dog show. SG020815-104TW

The Alice in Wonderland trail was brought to life by the Mad Hatter himself and Alice, who had a tea party table to entertain guests.

The trail to the table was decorated with Alice in Wonderland features, such as playing cards, and there was a lovely humorous touch with a toy bunny who was apparently digging a burrow at the side of the path.

Owls from Fixter’s Falconry were among the big attractions for families – and children had a chance to stroke a cute Barn Owl.

Another show star was a 1950 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe DeVille owned by Alessio Landolfi, from Holbeach.

Visitor Jenny Waters admires a gigantic stick of rhubarb in the produce show. SG020815-16TW

Visitor Jenny Waters admires a gigantic stick of rhubarb in the produce show. SG020815-16TW

Alessio, a computer engineer, has owned the car since 2009.

He says it’s a head-turner “pretty much anywhere it goes” and it has plenty of power to keep up with modern day cars on the roads.

Peter said money raised from the show goes to Fleet Preservation Trust, which supports a host of good causes in the area such as Holbeach Hospital, Hovenden House, Fleet Wood Lane School and Holbeach and Fenland Gymnastics Club.

The good causes have to be local and they’re usually ones that don’t get a lot of funding from big organisations

Fazed members Edward King, John Gooding and Cameron Rickerby. SG020815-111TW

Fazed members Edward King, John Gooding and Cameron Rickerby. SG020815-111TW

Last year’s show saw £1,600 raised for good causes and Peter hopes for £2,000 this year.

Ian and Yvette Pringle beside one of the water features. SG020815-18TW

Ian and Yvette Pringle beside one of the water features. SG020815-18TW

Ian and Yvette Pringle beside one of the water features. SG020815-18TW

Ian and Yvette Pringle beside one of the water features. SG020815-18TW

Matt Linsell, Ed Richardson and grandma Pat Frost in a quiet corner of the gardens. SG020815-103TW

Matt Linsell, Ed Richardson and grandma Pat Frost in a quiet corner of the gardens. SG020815-103TW

Kate and Lily Normington-Bann on the Alice in Wonderland trail. SG020815-108TW

Kate and Lily Normington-Bann on the Alice in Wonderland trail. SG020815-108TW

Ed Richardson meets a Barn Owl from Fixter's Falconry. SG020815-117TW

Ed Richardson meets a Barn Owl from Fixter's Falconry. SG020815-117TW

Luke and Sophie Gearing at the Mad Hatter's tea party. SG020815-124TW

Luke and Sophie Gearing at the Mad Hatter's tea party. SG020815-124TW