MORE than 5,000 families braved the rain and hail to attend the 139th Great Harwood Agricultural Show.

And although the numbers on the gates were down 2,000 on last year's figures, organisers said the support by local people had been fantastic.

The visitors, who braved the mud and the unseasonably cold, wet weather were treated to ferret racing, tug-of-war competitions, wellie-throwing and for the more adventurous there was even a bucking mechanical bull.

Also at the show was the Guardhall Security dog display team, which demonstrated in the main arena that no would-be burglar could ever out-run one of its crime-fighting canines.

But perhaps the highlight was the three Spanish horse riders who were appearing at the show for the first time this year.

The three home bred Andalucian stallions were ridden by the owner's three daughters and thrilled the crowd with their Spanish-style riding.

Show secretary Rona Westwell said: "The gates were down but in true East Lancashire fashion local people have ignored the rain and come out to support us.

"We have had over 5,000 people here today which is fantastic seeing how woeful the weather has been.

"This is one of the few surviving agricultural shows in the area and so many others have gone under but this ground is in a built up area and it is the local people who keep it going."

People from across East Lancashire were also attracted to the showground off Balfour Street, to see the best in livestock and poultry and the high standard of dogs, rabbits and horses competing for trophies and rosettes.

There were also dozens of plates of eggs entered in the Best Eggs competition which kept the judges busy as they carefully cracked and examined each specimen.

But poultry manager Bill Bruce said there were fewer local entries this year.

He added: "People have come from all around to show their poultry this year but we have had very few local entries.

"We still had a great show though and the standards were as high as ever."