Rotherham unites for show in wake of sexual abuse scandal

The horticultural tent was one of the dry spots on Saturday
The horticultural tent was one of the dry spots on Saturday
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Communities in Rotherham came together to put on a united front at an annual show in the wake of the town’s child sexual exploitation scandal.

The Rotherham Show attracts around 70,000 each year to Clifton Park.

And despite the recent scandal and tensions running high around the town, thousands of people from across South Yorkshire went along to the free, two-day event over the weekend.

The rain meant that visitor numbers were down on the first day, with thousands more people choosing to visit yesterday in the sunshine.

The show comes just days after a damning report into child sexual exploitation in the town revealed 1,400 children were groomed, raped and sexually abused for 16 years while those in authority took no action.

Rotherham District Scouts had cancelled its attendance at the event because of fears over child safety.

There was an also increased police presence at the show to reassure visitors because of the growing tension since the publication of the Jay Report and rumours of demonstrations.

Officers were present on each of the entrances and also patrolling around the park.

Pensioner Ian Knight, from Bramley, said he had attended the show for many years along with his wife, Andrea.

He felt that although there was anger around the town about what had happened this would not put people off attending.

He said: “There is a hell of a lot of anger around the town against Asian men and councillors.

“But we are Yorkshire people and what’s happened won’t put people off coming.

“A lot of charities have stalls here and they needed our support.”

His wife Andrea, who volunteers at Rotherham Hospice, added: “The charities come together to organise this – they need our help. We’ll always come.”

Nursery worker Toni Setters enjoyed seeing all the different cultures come together to celebrate the occasion.
She said: “I live in Doncaster and we don’t have anything like this.

“It’s nice to see different cultures come together.

“I work at a Rotherham nursery and so I like to come to see the parents and children.”

The family fun day featured a range of attractions including a fairground, vintage vehicles, live music, a horticultural show, diversity festival and hundreds of stalls run by charities and other organisations.

Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice volunteer, Nancy Pearson, believed it was the rain that put people off coming on the opening day, and not the recent scandal.

She said: “I don’t think what has happened in Rotherham recently has put people off.

“It’s a family show and family-orientated so I don’t think it’ll have any effect.”

The charity’s stall featured a tombola, bric-a-brac and Bluebell Wood items for sale.

“This event is important to the charity and very successful for us.

“We come to raise funds but also the profile of Bluebell Wood,” added Nancy.