AS I write this in early April the world continues to be in crisis over COVID-19, with even the Prime Minister admitted to hospital with the virus. It is incredible how our lives have changed almost overnight; loved ones lost, jobs gone, income stopped, previously viable businesses going bust, the general public told to stay indoors and still no end in sight. The finest scientific minds in the world are seemingly unable to agree as to the best way forward.

Confor has produced an excellent guide for the industry as to how to cope with the virus and continues to discuss with the powers that be and get acceptance that much of what we do is a key job. Different companies have taken different views on whether they can continue to work, with the main decider seeming to be whether the work risks putting an extra strain on our overworked NHS. We are all in the dark about when restrictions might be lifted so in the meantime we can only obey government guidelines and leave the decisions to the experts.

In the APF 2020 office work goes on almost as normal – one of the benefits of working from a home office. Following on from my diary last month we are still ‘full steam ahead’ for APF 2020. Exhibitor bookings are still coming in on a daily basis. Some enquiries are from previous exhibitors who perhaps were not planning to book for this year, but with many of the other shows they attend cancelled, they are looking for the remaining sales opportunities for the season. We hope that both visitors and exhibitors will relish being released from lockdown and come together to make this a great industry event.

We did have to cancel our April site meeting for obvious reasons. Our next one is scheduled for Wednesday June 10th at 2pm but watch our website or contact us to check nearer the time.

Forestry Journal:

The APF Demo has always made big efforts to attract not just the huge multinational companies but the smaller start-up companies as well. We are pleased to have seen a number of companies exhibit with us for the first time, often their first exhibition of any kind, and then seen their sales take off as a result of the exposure the show has given them. A couple of shows ago we started offering smaller 5 m frontage sites to make them affordable to these smaller businesses. We now offer a 5 m frontage x 12 m depth site for just £700 + VAT. The APF show is a celebration of all aspects of the forest and arb industry; from the horse logger and traditional green wood craftsperson to the small contractor and the largest manufacturer with multi-million-pound sales.

Many businesses are obviously struggling at present, through no fault of their own, with the current lockdown. Customers have dried up and cash flow is very tight. We hope the prospect of APF 2020 will offer at least a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. We want to continue to encourage exhibitors to book with us but appreciate that with funds tight paying out for a show five months in advance is not a top priority. We are offering any new exhibitor the opportunity to pay just £100 + VAT now to reserve their site and then the balance by 1st September, rather than our usual 30-day terms.

We have been ringing around all our suppliers to assure them we are still set to go ahead as planned and paying deposits for their services to help give further confidence. The events industry, like many others, is taking a real hammering with many shows cancelled. If an event cannot be rescheduled this is income that is lost forever. Marquee providers, electrical supply, temporary roadways, toilets, catering – the list goes on – will all be badly affected.

Forestry Journal:

Rescheduling an event can also bring its own problems. The Game Fair due to be held in July at Ragley has decided to postpone and reschedule for the weekend of the 18–20th September, a week before us. Although they use a different part of the estate and their opening days differ from ours this has thrown up all sorts of logistical issues, especially traffic management as their plan involves using part of our access but in the opposite direction! We are now working with them to find a viable solution to this.

On a brighter note, we have started running a fortnightly competition via our social media. Our exhibitors have been very generous in providing some excellent prizes. We started the ball rolling with an offer of a couple of tickets for the show, followed by a great package of goodies from Honey Bros. Look out in the coming weeks for other fantastic prizes from Forestry Journal, F. R. Jones, Husqvarna and HAIX amongst others. Just follow our Facebook page @APF2020 to take part in the competitions. If your company has any prizes or promotional goods which you would like to offer for the competitions, please get in touch.

Finally, stay safe and let us all do as we are told and hopefully we will be allowed out again soon. There is very little excuse for not doing that long-overdue maintenance work on your kit or clearing up your yard!

For more details of APF 2020 please visit:, email:, tel: 01428 723545 or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Thanks – and stay safe.