ORGANISERS of one of the county’s biggest shows say this year’s event could be the last unless they can raise enough money to pay off the debt from last year.

The 2012 Bromyard Gala was cancelled after heavy rain turned the 66-acre Birchyfields site into a quagmire.

Refunds, lost rentals from exhibitors and lack of ticket sales led to a financial loss of more than £50,000.

Dates have already been announced for the 2013 gala, which features a steam rally and countryside show.

It will be held on July 6 and 7, but the proceeds are expected to only cover this year’s costs.

Gala chairman Liz Huffer said: “If we want there to be a gala next year and the year after that, then we’ll have to clear that debt.

“That’s why we’re holding this appeal. We’ve got to raise a lot of money, but we’re very optimistic, very positive.

“It would be a great shame if it were to go because it’s run by volunteers who do it for the love of it and they’ve made the show what it is today.”

The fund-raising campaign kicked off on Saturday when the gala’s cuddly mascot Huggy sold raffle tickets at the Co-op, Tenbury Road, for a grand draw with prizes donated by local businesses.

The winning tickets will be drawn at a concert on Saturday, March 23, which will feature the Hereford Police Male Choir who shot to national acclaim on the BBC’s Last Choir Standing in 2008.

The evening, to be held at Queen Elizabeth Humanities College, will also feature an auction of promises with more tempting prizes.

Further fund-raising events will be held later in the year.

Bromyard Gala started in 1967 and has since grown to be one of the biggest shows in the county.

Last year was only the second time it has been cancelled – the first was in 2001 during the foot-and-mouth epidemic.