Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman,
Thank you very much for those kind words. Having spent a very happy morning with you, I have come to the conclusion that the duties of President are most enjoyable – as they were when I welcomed such a marvellous team of key people from the Devon Show to Highgrove recently.
But there is one duty which is of particular importance - and that is to pass on the warmest good wishes of your Patron, - my husband – The Prince of Wales.
He also asked me to tell you that you are a rare breed from Devon – and he should know as he is Patron of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust!
I was so delighted when you invited me to become President of the Association in 2008. Some of you may recall that my husband and I came to the Show three years ago – and it happened to be one of the first engagements after our marriage.
It was an extremely happy day and both of us were so touched by the warmth of the reception. All I can say is that after my visit this morning my affection for the show has only grown…
The quality of the livestock is of the highest standard and the sheer range of the displays and stands is remarkable - and a testament to the commitment and hard work of all the exhibitors, and, of course the generosity of your many sponsors.
I was especially pleased to see the work of the Year of Food and Farming, and the Farms for City Children – which I know is your official Charity for the Year. Few things can be as important as reconnecting children and indeed, all consumers to the land – and helping them to understand how their food is grown.
How else can they begin to make any judgement about healthy eating, and how else can we ensure farmers are properly valued for the vital role they play – not just in looking after the countryside that we all love so much – but in providing us with good wholesome food?
This year, of course, is a particularly special one for the Devon County Agricultural Association as it has been selected to host the annual conference of the Association of Shows and Agricultural Organisations.
This is a signal honour and proof, if any were needed, of the high regard in which the Show and Association is held and I would just like to congratulate Mervyn Hosking, the Association’s Secretary, and Ollie Allen, the Show Secretary on the outstanding work they do.
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the Devon County Show is without doubt a wonderful shop window for Devon and I can only offer my warmest good wishes to all the farmers and food producers in this beautiful county.