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14th, 15th & 16th August 2018

Message from this year's Society President Richard Cole

"It is a huge honour to serve as President of the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society and I am very grateful for the opportunity to take on this prestigious role.

I was brought up at Mount Pleasant, Tangiers, just the other side of the A40 from Withybush aerodrome - home for the last 58 years to the Pembrokeshire County Show.

Society President Richard Cole

My late father bred and exhibited Welsh pigs for many years. At the RoyalWelsh Show on one occasion he won 29 of the 31 red rosettes he competed for, and sold the first Welsh boar to the USA at a breed sale in Hull in the 1950s for a breed record price at the time.  He was asked to steward the show pig and sheep classes in the early 1960s as the incumbent steward and friend, the late Mr N.E.D. Davies, livestock officer for Pembrokeshire was the new President Elect. So began the family association with the show.

I attended Prendergast Primary School and my form teacher, the late Mr G.G. Williams, was also the County Show secretary. The show finances in those days were such that the notice of meetings were given to me in school to hand to my father when I returned home, thus saving the old 3d stamp on postage. The following morning in class I would be questioned by GG about its safe delivery!

As a result, I became errand boy for both father and show secretary running from the pig pens to the secretary's office and from there wherever GG wished!

Despite moving to Whitland, the enthusiasm for the County Show never waned. Every Saturday morning prior to the show it was a case of get the sledge hammer, stakes, hammer, nails and farmer's friend (baler twine) packed lunch and off down to the showground to put up the show. It was a real hive of activity with camaraderie, leg pulling and occasional wise counselling. At the end of the 1960s I was promoted to steward and I will never forget meeting my first judge, who had driven from Norfolk in his Bentley, with a personalised number plate CC1 . He was Claude Coates, a man who farmed thousands of pigs and also ran some supermarkets in the buoyant times of the pig industry. I felt the farming feel-good factor that day, which I haven't felt these last two years!

In the late 1970s I had a couple of years as a press steward with Roscoe Howells and later stewarded under the late Mansel James, Woodson - a lovely man whose PR skills were to be admired in the show jumping collecting ring.

The building of the Camrose Livestock building in 1980 was the start of big changes to cattle showing - for both the exhibitors and the general public. Most of my show time has been spent there since.

The President's Award 2017 is for the best effort in promoting the exhibitor's livestock to the general public.

The show has changed beyond all recognition in scale and diversity and the willingness of the local community, national businesses and individuals to sponsor the classes so generously is a testament to the affection and regard it is held in. We are greatly indebted to all those who are sponsors, and thank you most sincerely.

This year we have cattle staying for all three days to be joined by sheep on the second and third day to satisfy public demand. Our sincere appreciation to the exhibitors who have supported us in this new venture.

Always keen to feature the latest innovation and automation throughout its long history, the Show welcomes, among many other attractions a much-talented robot on the Lely stand - to exhibit live robotic milking for the first time in Wales.

Last December we said farewell to general manager Alex Bruce, who had overseen great changes to the structure of the Society during his office, and we wish him every happiness in the future.

We welcome Jan Pearce to this role. Jan runs the successful Glyncoch Stud with her family and is well known in the equine world and on the show circuit. Jan had previously worked in the probation service and has a skillset and knowledge that will be of huge benefit to the Society.

Following the retirement of the Rev Geoffrey Gwyther as Society Chaplain, weare fortunate to have the Archdeacon Rev Dennis Wight take his place. He will conduct his first Show Service on Sunday, August 13th and we welcome you all to join us.

In March, the Society suffered a huge blow with the sudden death of Show Council Chairman, David Roach. David's contribution to the show rings was immense and his knowledge of the equine classes and exhibitors immeasurable. We are grateful that Judy Roach will continue to support the show in the void left by his absence.

I hope you will support the show, and appreciate the efforts of the exhibitors, trade stands, staff, stewards and volunteers who put so much hard work into ensuring another top quality Pembrokeshire attraction for 2017 - all of whom I and the Society are greatly indebted to."

Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society President, Richard Cole

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