Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas opens the 2016 Royal Welsh Show

18 July 2016

Today saw a busy first day of the long-awaited 2016 Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.

The show was officially opened by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, the Assembly Member for the Meirionnydd area since 1999 and an active member of the House of Lords, and Dafydd Jones who represents the host county of Meirionnydd and has recently been awarded the title of Wales YFC Senior Member of the Year.

During his opening address, Lord Elis-Thomas referred the show as the “Eisteddfod yr Anifeiliaid” the Eisteddfod for the animals, “where culture and business, quality produce and enjoyment of the way of life comes together. As so many of us converge here, every year, we have this feeling of belonging to one big family.

“It is not surprising that it is the promotion and celebration of agriculture and food production which drives this – our major Welsh national event. In a very basic sense it is agricultural activity which has made Wales, and made it look the way it does.”

Following the opening ceremony, society officials and the Lord Lieutenants of Wales planted a magnificent golden willow tree to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Harry Fetherstonehaugh, Royal Welsh Show Honorary Show Director and Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd said: “We are thrilled that the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and all eight of Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenants in Wales have come together to make a lasting testament here, on the showground, by planting this tree to commemorate the 90th birthday of our longstanding Patron, Her Majesty the Queen.”

Elsewhere on the showground a new bench was unveiled in honour of one of the greatest Welsh fishermen, Moc Morgan, who sadly passed away last year after devoting his retirement to his passion for fishing. Moc travelled the world competing at World and European level and was the secretary of the Welsh Salmon and Trout Angling Association for more than thirty years. A dedicated steward, Moc began demonstrating at the Royal Welsh Show in the 60s where he inspired thousands of children and adults alike to try their hand at casting and fly fishing over the years.

In the afternoon, Mr Fred Eckton, a long serving steward in the society’s honey section, was presented with an Order of the British Empire medal for his services to bee keeping in Wales, by The Hon Dame Shan Legge Bourke - DCVO, Lord Lieutenant of Powys. Fred began his stewarding journey for the society in 1963 and is now the Chief Steward for the section. Along with his unwavering commitment to the show, Fred also plays an active role in encouraging young people to become beekeepers of the future.

Later in the day, after another crowd pleasing performance from the Regimental Band and Corps of Drums of The Royal Welsh the president of the society, Mr Richard Jones, and the Commander of the Army in Wales signed a covenant pledging the society’s commitment to the Armed Forces of Wales.  

The lucky spectators were then introduced to the new Mascot of the 1st Queens Dragoon Guards, Trooper Emrys Forlan Jones, who has joined the Royal Welsh Regiment for a visit to the show. Trooper Jones, a welsh pony, joined the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, also known as The Welsh Cavalry, as the first pony ever to be their official mascot. There was then a short commemoration to those who died in Mametz Wood, the Somme in 1916, 100 years ago almost to the day.

Summing up the hot and busy first day, John Davies, Chair of the Board of Directors, said: “The first day of the show always sets the scene for the rest of the week, and with this glorious ‘hay-making’ weather we are fortunate that so many ‘friends’ of the society have turned out in force to join us here in Llanelwedd.”

Commenting on the success and future aims of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and the show, John added “Representing nearly 22,000 members, the society is proud to be able to provide an international platform for which it will play an instrumental role in formulating the future of the Welsh, and British, agricultural sector in these uncertain times."