Thousands of children descended on Royal Three Counties Show this weekend after organisers put education at the heart of the event.

For the first time ever, the show welcomed all under-16s free. The idea was to encourage the younger generation to embrace agriculture and country life. It saw 40 per cent more children flock through the gates than last year.

The success of the scheme came despite downpours that saw many outdoor events cancelled.

Head of shows, Diana Walton, said she was thrilled to have seen so many youngsters enjoying the show as overall visitors across the weekend topped 90,000.

She said: “Visiting the show as a child was an annual highlight and I’m delighted we have been able to welcome all under 16s free, allowing all children to enjoy a day out while learning about our region’s heritage. Education is at the very heart of the show and is a vital tool in creating a lasting legacy which will help inspire ongoing support for the farming industry.”

Teams battled around the clock to keep the showground open for business despite rain, while Saturday and Sunday enjoyed more consistent sunshine.

She added: “I am so proud of our team who worked so hard to maintain conditions at the showground in very challenging weather. I am also delighted at the support we received with visitors still flocking through the gates even when the weather did its best to deter them.”