CELEBRATIONS took place at the New Forest Show today to mark the 25th anniversary of the organisation dubbed the 'voice' of tourism in the area.

The chairman of VisitEngland, Lady Penelope Cobham, and the chief executive, James Berresford, visited the showground to congratulate members of New Forest Tourism Association (NFTA).

The association was created by New Forest District Council (NFDC) in 1989.

The council leader, Cllr Barry Rickman, said: “The association has become the voice of local tourism, representing over 250 businesses from world class hotels such as the Chewton Glen right through to the smallest pubs, shops and B&Bs.

“The partnership between NFDC and NFTA has been hugely valuable in unlocking the true potential of tourism over the years.”

The three day show got off to an excellent start yesterday, with thousands of people pouring through the gates of the huge showground at New Park, Brockenhurst.

Many spectators praised what they described as the more relaxed atmosphere at this year's event.

Even more spectators are ecpected to attend the Daily Echo backed show today.

Families heading for the showground faced longer queues on the A337 Lyndhurst to Brockenhurst Road and the car parks started filling up more quickly than yesterday.

A show spokesman said: “It's going really well. Numbers are great.”

The event features a vast array of attractions including a flower show, shopping pavilions and more than 3,000 animals including sheep, cattle and rabbits.

Today sees another appearance by motorcycle stunt rider Jamie Squibb, who wowed spectators yesterday by performing a mid-air somersault on his bike.