A popular agricultural society has announced its new president.

Managing Director of West Dorset Leisure Holidays (WDLH), Martin Cox, has been revealed as the 2024 president of the Melplash Agricultural Society, organisers of the Melplash Show

Mr Cox said: “It is a role that I intend to take on with enthusiasm and dedication.

“Although I am in the tourism industry, the farming community and the work of the society is important to our success. Visitors are attracted to this part of Dorset for the beautiful coastline and the stunning countryside which would not exist if we didn’t have our farmers caring for it.

“The Melplash Show is a major summer attraction and many of our regular holiday park visitors book their holidays especially to take in the show. I am a keen supporter of the society’s Discover Farming and Scholarship scheme - we have been a sponsor for a number of years.

“It is vital that the next generation understand the role and importance of farming and are encouraged to take up careers within agriculture."

Mr Cox added: “I am looking forward to working with the chairman, Philip Hardwill, and the society directors, getting to know more about the overall work of the society, in particular the areas that are less well-known, and having the opportunity to share with the wider community”.     

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Martin Cox President 2024 and Michael Fooks President 2023Martin Cox President 2024 and Michael Fooks President 2023 (Image: Kathy Dare)

Mr Cox was born in Bridport and his father, along with his brother, ran the local coal business in the centre of the town.

He went to St Mary’s Primary and Colfox Secondary Schools, starting a career in local government before joining his wife, Vanessa, in her family’s holiday park business at Highlands End Farm, Eype in 1984, a business her father and mother had started in 1971.

Together they have grown the business and now as WDLH have award winning parks in Eype, Seatown, Burton Bradstock and Owermoigne.  

Mr Cox and his family have had a long association with the society and both their family businesses WDLH and Highlands End have been long term sponsors of the Melplash Show.

In recent years put in place a permanent agreement that enables visitors to the show to park on their land on the west side of the river.