There is a large circle of people around the Information Tent at Buckham Fair. I can just about make out a black Stetson rising above crowd.
It’s Martin Clunes, signing autographs and posing for photos with fans and dogs.
‘He’s much skinnier than I thought he’d be,’ says one chap, heading with his wife towards the thick smoke of the burger stall.
And then a middle-aged woman emerges from the crowd, a radiant glow on her beaming face.
‘Oh, he remembers me,’ she says, with delight to her husband.
Clunes is good like that. Remembering people and making them feel special. He poses with classic cars, sponsors and children. He makes their day. Meanwhile his producer wife, Philippa, blends in with the volunteers, in an official outfit bearing the word Steward across the back.
Together, the couple make a mighty force for good in this neck of the woods, With their hardworking team of volunteers, their efforts raise thousands upon thousands for big – and vital – charities, which make a huge difference to people’s lives.
There are also the sponsors, too. Without them, the show wouldn’t take place. Sponsors range from individuals – I met one woman who came all the way from the United States – to local businesses. This year’s main sponsor is Dorset law firm Kitson & Trotman.
This year, Buckham Fair, looks set to raise a bumper amount for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. Last year, £90,000 was donated to Weldmar Hospicecare Trust. The year before, £67,000 was given to Julia’s House Children’s Hospice.
Buckham Fair is the gift that keeps on giving. I have never seen the showground quite so busy. It takes my friend two hours to get here from Bridport after getting stuck in traffic.
The rain holds off, but by lunchtime it’s obliterating West Bay, which from this high ridge is now just a blob of grey.
It won’t be long before the bad weather gets here. But, in the meantime, the show must go on.