THE New Forest and Hampshire County Show has been cancelled for the second year running because of uncertainty surrounding the end of lockdown.

The three-day event was due to have been held at the end of July but has been axed following a review of the pandemic and the government's "roadmap" out of lockdown.

Organisers held a digital meeting and agreed they had no alternative but to cancel the 2021 show.

In a statement Martin Stewart, chairman of New Forest Agricultural Show Society (NFASS), said staging the event cost "well in excess" of £1m.

He added that final lockdown restrictions would not be lifted until June 21 at the earliest.

"If the Society were to go ahead and for whatever reason the show was cancelled, even with three months to go, it would bankrupt the Society," said Mr Stewart.

"The board unanimously agreed that it was better to protect the long-term survival of the Society than to risk everything in what is still very uncertain times.

"We know what the show means to the community, exhibitors, competitors, sponsors, stewards, members and indeed the whole team at the showground.

"We are very disappointed but will be back with a vengeance in 2022."

Denis Dooley, the show's chief executive, added: "This was a very difficult decision to make and I am sorry we cannot hold the New Forest & Hampshire County Show this year.

"The fragile nature of the roadmap alongside the uncertainty over regulations for large events this summer made planning for the 2021 show impossible.

"When coming to the decision the board were unanimous in their aim to prioritise the long-term success of the show and safety of all those involved."

The cancellation of two consecutive shows has only happened once before in the event's100-year history.

No shows were held during the Second World War.