Newport Show diary – May 2019

Jo Ford on what being the president of the show involves

I am sure many of you will have seen past presidents wandering around Newport Show and thought ‘that’s a pretty good job’. Well, you’re right!

And on July 13 at Chetwynd Deer Park this year, that will be me. So here’s a little insight into what exactly it is the president does.

The honorary role is a working one which lasts for a year and is something I’m immensely proud of, coordinating our enthusiastic team of volunteers, working closely with show manager Sally Western and our office team.

A president takes office after serving the previous year as vice president and usually several earlier years as part of the management committee. This is an excellent grounding and the experience gained during that time proves invaluable.

It gives an important insight into the show world and what’s to come – a very special honour for the president and their family.

Trade stands at the 2018 Newport Show

Being president means there are many sub committee meetings to attend with the aim of planning the next show, building on the success of the last. We are always keen to hear ideas about anything that will enhance the show day experience for visitors, maintaining our position as one of the leading events on the national calendar.

One thing I am particularly proud of this year is the introduction of the new Harper Adams University Innovation Zone. This futuristic area is a first for the show and a perfect way to mark 110 shows – robotics and artificial intelligence will show visitors just how the farming industry is changing and look to the future of agriculture.

On the show day there’s a lot to be done, meeting and greeting people, having photographs taken, making presentations and making sure everybody involved in running the event is happy with the way things are going and ensuring there are no problems.

The president and vice president (and their partners!) need to work in tandem on show day to ensure they see and talk to as many people as possible. This is a vital part of our role and needs to be coordinated because there is simply too much for one person to get around.

The PR walk, as it is known, usually starts about 10am, by which time all the trade stands should be up and running. I’ll be visiting the livestock and canine areas, the agricultural stands and the antiques and collectors fair.

As president I get a few other exciting jobs too.

It is my job to oversee the potato challenge in the Education Hub, of which I am also a competitor.  One local school will be crowned champion with the heaviest potato crop they are already busy nurturing.

I also welcome exhibitors to the Festival of Food area and am involved in judging at the Horticultural Marquee. Plenty of presentations too – the Inter Dairy and Beef Breed cattle awards, the dog show prize giving and horses too.

Jo Ford, the new President of Newport Show
Jo Ford, President of Newport Show

A sponsors reception takes place between 12.15pm and 1pm and I will be trying to mingle and chat to as many people there as I can – time permitting!

After lunch I will be hoping to get around all those areas missed during the morning and at about 3pm it will be my honour to present the shield to the Vintage Tractor winner after the parade.

It’s certainly a hectic day and with so much to see and do it can all seem a little daunting, but I will be trying to soak in as much of the experience of possible – I wouldn’t change it for anything!