DAREDEVIL bike stunts, falconry, ferret racing and hare-chasing thrilled thousands in Thame yesterday.

The attractions brought in the crowds at the 15th annual Easter Thame Country Fair, at Thame Showground, Kingsey Road, which finishes at 6pm today.

Crowds of up to 10,000 were expected over two days at the event marking the start of Oxfordshire’s country show season.

The show also hosted a competition for lurcher dogs, horse and cart driving, sheepdog shows, and gundog events.

Families enjoying the Easter break refused to be put off by the chilly weather.

Maria Koester, 48, and her husband Glyn, 47, made the trip yesterday from Kingston Lisle, near Wantage, to train their new dog to get used to crowds.

Mrs Koester said: “We have been wandering around. We came down to bring my husband’s German wire-haired pointers Albert and Charlie and to get the one-year-old used to people and other dogs.

“He’s doing really well.”

Kate and Steve Butler, from Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, took their two-year-old daughter Emily and dog Jack to celebrate the start of the season.

Mrs Butler, 39, said: “It is just so nice to be outdoors, especially after a cold winter. It is a beautiful day – it’s really nice to come to a show with the family.

“It’s just been a great day out – Emily and Jack are loving it.


“It is a really nice start to summer shows and festivals. Emily loves dogs and all the animals and tractors.

“It is quite cold, but it’s sunny and all very colourful with all the flags and stands.”

Among the visitors was lurcher handler 11-year-old Charley Gibson, from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, who took part in the lurcher dog competition in the main arena.

She and Toffee made it through to the next round of the competition, in which the lurchers chase a toy hare.

Charley said: “She did really well – I like lurching.”

Thame Country Fair organiser Marge Needham, from Living Heritage, said: “People looked like they were really enjoying themselves.

“I saw hundreds of people walking around with big smiles on their faces.

“That is the thing about the great British public – you can always count on them to have a good time.

“It may be cold, but it is still sunny. It is colourful, busy, all the flags are flying and everything is looking bright and breezy.

“I’ve had the first visitor I have known of from Australia, who booked her ticket by email.

“We reckon we should see about 10,000 people by the end of the fair and so far it is looking good.”