IT was an enduring, if not always very well attended, fixture on the Worcester summer calendar for more than 30 years.

Worcester City Show began as a glorified flower show on the King’s School sportsground in New Road in the Fifties, moved venues a couple of times to Pitchcroft and then Perdiswell, and grew into an event that attracted everyone from Olympic show jumpers to the rather freaky.

Among the main ring attractions at one show was a gent of none too tender years who twice a day jumped from the top of a 30-metre tower into a pool of water topped by burning oil.

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Then there  was the very-popular-with-the-lads sideshow which involved every time a bullseye was scored a girl in a bikini being released from a swing into a bathing bath. Perhaps not surprisingly it was organised by the young gentlemen of Worcester Round Table.

My best personal memory was going along one year to interview a top Punch and Judy man, who was in full flow as I strolled up with a Labrador puppy in tow.

Everything seemed to be going well until Mr Punch used some rather strong language considering the age of his audience. “Get off you little f*****r”, he suddenly yelled. Only then did I realise the puppy had wandered through an open flap into the back of the booth and relieved itself on the top operator’s foot. But that’s showbiz.

The problem with the City Show was that the weather gods never really liked it. Invariably the event, either on one day or both, was blighted by cloudy skies and showers. Sunny days were few and far between.

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Tearing round the grass track in 1978

Almost without fail the show made a financial loss and seeing as it was basically underwritten by  the city council that didn’t go down well in some quarters. The intentions were good, but the end result rarely so.

Based on the county show format, the programme centred on a main ring with horse events, which attracted the likes of David Broome and Harvey Smith (household names in the 1960-70s when show jumping was primetime TV).

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Vintage cars in 1966

There were also spectaculars, such as the aforementioned diving into flaming water, vintage cars displays, grass track racing, marching bands, dog shows, side shows and a music throbbing fairground.

In 1958, the Evening News and Times reported: “It (the show) began as a flower show and the horticultural classes are still of major importance. It incorporates a horse show  and gymkhana, a traction engine display and rally, shows of dogs, rabbits and cage birds, a skiffle group contest, a motorcycle football match and an exhibition of free-style wrestling.

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“Trade exhibits have multiplied and there are all sorts of interesting sidelights, such as the beautiful display of handicrafts by  Worcester’s handicapped and disabled persons. There are housewives competitions in cake baking, preserves and bottled fruit and a beekeepers section with classes for honey and other hive products. But one thing has not improved – the weather. It was raining a steady  stream when the gates opened.”

At the start of the 1980s, with the event by then  losing £10,000 annually, Worcester City Council decided to pull the plug. Which was a shame because what better way to spend a summer day than watching an old bloke dive 100ft through the air into some burning oil.