The Yorkshire Agricultural Society is entering a new era as Chairman, Simon Theakston steps down from the role. The Society is best known as the organiser of the annual rural showcase, the Great Yorkshire Show, and for the last eight years he has been at the Society’s helm, leading it through one of the most exciting and innovative periods in its long history. In line with the Society’s constitution, he has now handed over the reins. He remains a member of its governing body and is succeeded as Chairman by Nick Lane Fox of Bramham Park.
Nigel Pulling, Chief Executive said: “Simon has played a pivotal role in driving forward the Society’s work not only with our showcase events, the Great Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live, but also our activities year round in support of the farming and rural industry. This has been one of the busiest periods in the Society’s history with many high profile projects coming to fruition. Simon has been the ideal person to oversee these changes and his resonance with Society’s aims, his commercial acumen particularly as Executive Director of T & R Theakston Ltd, and love of Yorkshire have been a huge asset. The legacy of his leadership will be appreciated for many years to come.”
Over the last eight years there have been substantial improvements to the Great Yorkshire Showground - it is now a leading UK events venue and is synonymous with showcasing agricultural excellence. Improvements to the site include building the Society’s headquarters, the Regional Agricultural Centre, in 2009 and also its award winning shop and café, Fodder; the £10m development of its main exhibition hall, as well as infra structure improvements ranging from the construction of the internationally acclaimed forge and the caravan park to new roads, car parks and drainage.
A key part of the Society’s work year round is supporting the farming industry and over the last decade, the education department’s activities in raising awareness of the important role farmers play in producing our food and caring for the countryside have increased. Three years ago, Springtime Live joined the Society’s “show family”, the Future Farmers of Yorkshire Network was launched in 2010 and two years later, the Farmer Scientist Network was formed.
Nick Lane Fox is no stranger to the Society - the official history notes that GL Fox MP of Bramham Park was amongst the founder members in attendance at the Society’s inaugural meeting in York in 1837. Since then family members have taken various roles, including as President.
Welcoming him as Chairman, Nigel Pulling said: “Nick has been a huge supporter of the Society and the Great Yorkshire Show for many years. I am look forward to working with him to continue the successful developments at the showground of recent years and I am sure we will benefit from his extensive knowledge and experience.”
Nick’s involvement began in 1987 as a steward at the Great Yorkshire Show. He later became the Main Ring Chief Steward and joined the Society’s Council in 2005, becoming a Trustee in 2009. He has also served on a number of its committees. His interest in the countryside is well known, most particularly through staging one of the UK’s top equine events, the annual Bramham International Horse Trials.