Almost half of English Winter Fair’s (EWF) organising committee claim they have been sacked without any reason given for the decision.
Staffordshire and Birmgham Agricultural Society (SBAS) passed a vote of no confidence in the EWF committee at a council meeting on April 26, effectively disbanding the committee. Several members were then informed by post their assistance was ’no longer required’.
However, a reported 26 members from the original committee of about 40 were promptly reinstated.
An open letter to Farmers Guardian signed by a majority of the sacked committee members demanded justification for the decision.
However, SBAS declined to give a reason for it, calling the move an ’internal reorginsation’.
Former EWF committee chairman Stuart Clatworthy, who was was initially reinstated but has since resigned along with several other committee members in solidarity with those who lost their posts, said the move had caused upset and anguish for those forced off.
He said: “I am disappointed at the way SBAS council has handled this matter, removing active members from the committee after last year’s successful show.
"The show had more trade stands, sponsors and people through the door than we have had for years.”
Former members speaking to Farmers Guardian told of fractious relationships developing at meetings between older committee members and those looking to take the show forward.
Mr Clatworthy said the rug had been pulled from under him, but felt he had done the honourable thing by resigning. He urged other committee members to consider their positions.
The open letter from committee members who were forced out said: “As unjustly sacked members of the committee, we have been denied the opportunity to continue contributing to an event which has, to date, played a significant role in our business and social lives.
“This right should be returned to us and if anyone within SBAS is found at fault in the reasoning behind our unexpected removal, they should be held properly to account.”
Many of the sacked members had been involved for years or were continuing a family association with the EWF and said the decision had caused a lot of heartache far beyond those directly involved.
Richard William, SBAS chief executive, told Farmers Guardian: "We do not have a comment at the moment other than to say there has been an internal reorganisation of the committee.”