A popular agricultural society based in West Dorset has announced its new chairman.

The Melplash Agricultural Society has announced that Philip Hardwill will be taking over as chairman from James Vickery.

Mr Hardwill has been the society’s vice chairman since 2020 and will be the chairman from 2023 to 2024.

Philip Hardwill said: “Becoming Chairman of the Melplash Agricultural Society is a great honour for me. I very much believe in the values of the Society.

"Thanks to the work of our members and the foresight of our previous officers, our society leads the way in the promotion of West Dorset Agriculture to the public and in the provision of education to local young people, something I am keen to champion over my time as Chairman.  

“I am incredibly grateful to all of our members for putting their faith in me to lead our society for the next two years. I hope to serve you well”

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

The position is typically a two-year assignment, but the previous chairman Mr Vickery was in the position for a year longer than usual - from 2020 to 2022 - as there was no Melplash Show in 2021 because of the pandemic.

The society hosts the Melplash Agricultural Society Show, which is one of the South West’s premier agricultural exhibitions.

It will once again be held at The West Bay Showgrounds this year on Thursday, August 24.

Mr Hardwill has been on the board of directors since 2009, and his involvement in the society began with the organisation of the annual Hedgelaying and Ploughing Match. His experience organising Crewkerne Young Farmers ploughing match has been greatly valued by society.

Mr Hardwill grew up in the village of Blackdown and went to school at Marshwood Primary and Woodroffe before gaining a degree at Salford University. On his return, he joined his father Peter and younger brother Michael in the family business in Blackdown – P H Hardwill Ltd – designing, fabricating, and erecting steel framed buildings for agricultural, commercial and industrial uses. He moved to Kittwhistle following his marriage to Sarah in 1995

The Vice-Chairman for 2023/4 is Simon Wakely of A J Wakely & Sons, Bridport. Mr Wakely will be taking the reins as chairman in 2025.