Aycliffe Today Business PNE1578_AycliffeTodayBusiness_Issue28_WEBhighres - Page 9

The magazine for Aycliffe Business Park | 9 Russ Gibson wants to re-launch the Great Aycliffe Show in Newton Aycliffe, which used to attract more than 20,000 visitors every year. Businesses already backing bid to relaunch New Great Aycliffe Show A Newton Aycliffe man bidding to relaunch the Great Aycliffe Show has revealed he is already in advanced talks with major events organisers to help him complete his ambitious attempt. By Martin Walker And a number of companies on Aycliffe Business Park have already shown their support to the idea. Married father-of-three Russ Gibson wants to relaunch the once traditional annual event, which was dropped by Aycliffe Town Council in 2015 due to budget cuts and replaced with smaller festivals around the town, in the summer of 2018. The 35-year-old former Greenfield School pupil, who has always lived in Aycliffe, says he’s under no illusions about the task ahead of him, but says he’s already taken free consultation from professional people about the commercial viability of the show, which would cost around £50,000 to fund. Mr Gibson already has a solicitor, an accountant and a local marketing firm on board, and says he’s also held talks with experienced events organisers. “It’s a huge task involving some eyewatering expenses,” said Mr Gibson. “But this hasn’t just come out of the blue. When the show stopped, I was thinking ‘it can’t stop, it needs to stay’. I’ve always thought – as has my wife and other people I’ve spoken to – that it needs to come back. “I’ve looked into it, I’ve spoken to various different people, I’ve spoken to other experienced events organisers who’ve offered me free consultations and I’ve also spoken to fairground providers who’ve advised on what needs to happen. “Yes I’m nervous it’s going to be a big event, but nothing is impossible. We’ve looked into the figures and, if marketed properly, the numbers do stack up. Any event starts with a thought. Someone had to think of this one, and that was me.” Mr Gibson – who’s self-employed and lives near the town centre with wife Leane and their three children Jack (9), Harley (7) and Poppy (2) – has created a new company, Great Aycliffe Events, and is now seeking public support for the venture. “I’ve always thought the show left a huge gap for the town’s community,” he added. “I think the show lost its way a little, and then due to budget cuts, it was understandable that the council could no longer fund it any more through tax payers’ money. “But I’ve always thought it left a huge gap for the town’s community. A town of Aycliffe’s size, with around 30,000 people in it, should have an annual event like this. “I was brought up in Aycliffe and I’m bringing my children up in the town – and want them to grow up and be proud to call this town their home.” Mr Gibson is hoping Aycliffe Town Council will support the idea of a new Great Aycliffe Show by providing the venue at the OakLeaf Sports Complex, which used to host the event. He said: “It would need to be commercially-viable, of course, but I firmly believe, if marketed properly and with the right attractions, that it would be overwhelmingly supported by the general public. “At the moment we’re appealing for help and support from the community and businesses to hopefully make this happen in 2018.” More than 700 people have already followed his Facebook page and he’s appealing for people to show their support by going to www.facebook.com/ greataycliffeshow Any businesses interested in supporting Russ can email him at greataycliffeshow@gmail.com