THE weather forecast may have been grim, but that wasn’t enough to stop villagers, and a special guest, from enjoying their country show.

With everything from a music stage, horticultural show and hog roast, to ferret racing, crock smashing and vintage game den, 5,500 people flocked to the 58th annual Curdridge Show on Saturday (July 19).

For Derrick Cozens it marked a wish granted as he feared his terminal illness would stop him attending.

The 76-year-old cancer patient has been at Countess Mountbatten House, in West End, for three weeks, and staff made sure his special day could happen, including covering the cost of a private ambulance to take him there.

Alongside his wife Audrey, 74, and surrounded by family and friends, the grandfather-of-six watched the dog show in the main arena and smiled.

“It’s only once a year,” he said. “It means a lot to me.”

Mrs Cozens said: “I cannot tell you how lovely it is to be here, just to get him out. By hook or by crook we would have got him here.”

The couple, from Boorley Green, near Botley, have been going for over two decades, and Derrick, a former market gardener, has won awards for his wines.

This year Mrs Cozens and a friend entered them into the Horticultural Show on his behalf, winning two second and two third places.

She thanked everyone who had helped, particularly the hospice and nurse Helen Langhorn.

The show raises money towards running and refurbishing the Reading Room and Recreation Ground, in Reading Room Lane, which is used by residents of Curdridge and Curbridge.

Organiser Tony Bunday said: “I’m very pleased that it’s come together, there are a lot of threads to tie up. I’m pleased with the crowd that have turned up despite the early weather.”

The show partnered with the Hampshire Food Festival, and there was a barn dance in the evening.