It was a great relief to be able to announce this autumn that Badminton will run in 2021, albeit behind closed doors, and the support we’ve received from all corners has been overwhelming.
The Event is now just under five months away and plans have never had to be more flexible in all its 72 years, but a global situation that is affecting everyone has made us look at the event with fresh eyes and a new positivity, and now people know where they stand. We will make Badminton 2021 special in its own right and this, I hope, will herald a return to a mega event in 2022.
I am delighted to be able to announce one very special aspect to next year, which I think will delight the many people who have a deep love and knowledge of the Event: the main arena will be in front of the Badminton House, just like the old days when spectators parked their cars there and sat on straw bales to watch the then new spectacle of dressage. It provided evocative pictures then, reminiscent of the Goodwood Revival, and will do in 2021 – scenes that will be nostalgic for some and a novel look for others (below photo taken at Badminton 1954).
Harry and Georgia Beaufort and the Estate have been closely involved in this decision and without their wonderful support this idea would not be possible. Having the House as the backdrop to the arena will create a fantastic atmosphere for the competitors, excellent television pictures and a memorable atmosphere for 2021.
The fact that the sport of eventing has been so successful in running behind closed doors this season, yet still communicating so well, making followers and owners feel a part of it through live scoring and live streaming, gives us great optimism. Our new Media Manager, Becky Elvin, has plenty of ideas already for keeping everyone informed and entertained.
Becky, who will be a familiar face to many, succeeds Julian Seaman, who has retired after 18 very jolly years. As well as several years behind the front desk in the Media Office at Badminton, she brings a deep understanding from other sports, including three Winter Olympic Games.
The one sad aspect of this autumn has been the necessary restructure of the office. Vicky Iddon and Delyth Elmer, who worked in the box office for many years, giving such a personal and efficient service, have both departed and we will miss them greatly. We also say goodbye to Sue Ansell, who has been a huge part of office life for 29 years. She has been one of the great constants of the event and a major part of its development and will also be very much missed.
Despite the difficulties of this year, our contractors and our regular tradestands have been nothing but understanding and loyal and we wish them well this winter and have our fingers crossed for the spring.
Thank you to all those that filled in the Badminton Livestream survey, news on this will follow next month.
Until then, from me and the Badminton team, sincere thanks for all your support and encouragement and best wishes for a Happy Christmas and fingers crossed all will start to ease as we go through 2021.