The Melplash Agricultural Society is pleased to announce its new president and chairman for 2020.

Mr Nigel Jones takes over the role of president and Mr James Vickery as chairman.

Mr Jones succeeds Mr Tim Frost and Mr Vickery, who has been vice-chairman for the last two years, takes over the chairman’s reins from Mrs Jo Sage. Tim and Jo both stepped down at the AGM after completing their terms in office. The new vice-chairman for 2020 and 2021 is Mr Philip Hardwill.

Mr Jones, a chartered surveyor, is a director of Chesters Commercial based in Yeovil. He was born and went to school in Dorchester.

His father was working in the agricultural industry and his grandfather was a butcher in Weymouth. Apart from a brief three years in Australia and similar at university, he has lived in west Dorset all his life. He has lived in Cattistock for 25 years.

Mr Jones has been involved with the Melplash Show for some 40 years. In the early 1980s he helped with the car park and selling programmes. As well as supporting his daughter and late wife in the horse classes he has been an active competitor in the homecraft, handicraft and farm produce classes – he was disqualified from the men’s only cooking competition for not following WI rules, got a highly commended in photography and to his surprise received two firsts in the egg classes five years ago.

Mr Jones was the society’s chairman 10 years ago and became a director when the new board was formed in 2008.

On his appointment, Mr Jones said: “Taking on the role of president for 2020 is a tremendous honour. The society has given me both fun and friendship over the 40 years that I have been involved with it, as a helper, competitor, supporter and director.

"In the role, if I can give only a little back compared with the enjoyment that the show has given me, that will be a very worthwhile achievement.”

James Vickery is a local farmer’s son from Beaminster and a past member of Beaminster YFC where he did a stint as chairman. He has been involved with the Melplash Show for more than 20 years, first as a steward on the cattle lines and then for 10 years as chairman of the cattle section.

Mr Vickery ran his own agricultural contracting business with his father Roy Vickery and brother Mark until December 2018 when he took on the full-time role of land manager for Chedington Court Estate. He lives in Broadwindsor, is married to Millie and has two children, Charlotte and Henry.

Mr Vickery said: "As a farmer’s son, the Melplash Show has always played an important part in my life so becoming the chairman of the society, a role my father Roy Vickery held in 1981, is a real privilege.

"I am looking forward to continuing the hard work put in by the previous chairman, Jo Sage, who did a tremendous job furthering the aims of the society. I am particularly keen to encourage more youngsters to take up the society’s bursary scheme that gives grants to students pursuing careers in agriculture, and to see more of them taking advantage of the Discover Farming programme."