A QUESTION mark hangs over the future of one of the country s most successful steam fairs.

Organisers of the Tallington Steam and Country Festival have decided the popular event will not go ahead this year and are yet to determine whether to abandon the fair altogether.

The uncertainty follows huge losses incurred at the last steam fair in 2000 its 10th anniversary.

Event chairman Tony Hurlston said: "Although we had a wonderful Saturday in 2000 the Sunday, usually our busiest day, was a disaster.

"It was wet and windy and we just didn t get enough people through the gate.

"Consequently we made a 10,000 loss on that day.

"I m sorry and disappointed to say the directors felt we could not afford another financial failure and the show will not go ahead this year."

Last year s show was also cancelled, which at the time the organisers put down to the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

Now Mr Hurlstone has admitted that the steam spectacular would not have gone ahead anyway.

"At the time we blamed the foot-and-mouth crisis, but that was not quite true.

"We were not going to stage the event anyway," he added.

Mr Hurlstone said the long-term future of the event hangs in the balance.

He explained: "There is a question mark over whether there will ever be another steam fair and if we do we will have to find another venue.

"The Tallington area has changed, there is less land for the show because of housing and the bridge restrictions in Stamford means the heavy vehicles, such as tractors and steam engines, would have to make a considerable detour."

The event s future will be discussed by directors later this year.