THE appalling summer weather claimed its biggest victim so far when this weekend's game fair at Harewood was called off.

And the estimated cost of the cancellation of the three-day event is being put at £50m.

It is the first time in the 49-year history of the Country Landowners Association fair that it has not been held.

The decision was made because of the dreadful state of the site.

Virtually the whole area is churned up mud with water-filled ruts everywhere.

Already this year Otley Carnival has been cancelled and Weeton Show - also scheduled for this weekend - has been postponed until September because of the state of the showfield.

Harewood Estate officials estimate that the lost income from the Game Fair would be about £35m on site - with a further £15m cost to the local economy.

Hotels and guest houses in Wharfedale are among those which have suffered cancelled bookings.

And visitors from abroad are also pulling the plug because, in the words of one self-catering holiday firm, they have seen the flood pictures from places like Doncaster and Sheffield and think Yorkshire is closed'.

Many people from this area were due to be employed at the Game Fair, and firms were planning to have trade stands there.

The main on-site caterers are a Gloucester firm, Stephen Freeman Concess-ions, which stands to lose more than £100,000.

"It is our second biggest event of the year and a major blow," said Stephen Freeman.

"On top of that I've been told that both my son's and mother's homes have been flooded in Gloucester and they have been evacuated. It's not been a good week."

Most of the food is brought in from outside the region, but Mr Freeman said that some of the smaller items are sourced locally.

Cancellation brings spin-off blows to Wharfe tourism

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