Royal Welsh elects 2017 President

14 December 2016

Successful managing director of Wales’ largest family owned independent food wholesaler, Castell Howell Foods, has been officially elected as the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s President for 2017.

Mr Brian Jones MBE FRAgS of Castell Howell, Pensarn, Carmarthen has taken over the prestigious role in Carmarthenshire’s year as the society’s feature county.

Next year will be the fourth time Carmarthenshire has been the feature county since the Royal Welsh Show settled permanently at the showground in 1963. The unique structure of feature counties and advisory committees is what sets the society apart from others and ensures the people of Wales retain ownership of the events. The fundraising efforts of all the counties since 1963 have contributed millions of pounds which are invested back into the showground, making it one of the finest in Europe. This has created a real sense of shared ownership to our site.

Proposed at the society’s annual council meeting last week by Mr Meirion Owen and seconded by Mr Euros Davies, Brian was described as full of enthusiasm and passion and a great leader who has over the years supported and helped many local organisations and charities.

Brian, a farmer and entrepreneur, established Castell Howell Foods in the mid-1980s, when as a dairy farmer, he was hit by the introduction of milk quotas and decided to diversify. The successful business specialises in Welsh, locally produced products and with the Celtic Pride brand, has increased the amount of Welsh meat entering the British food chain.

A busy man, Brian is also chairman to the Carmarthen Quins Rugby Club and was this summer accepted in to the prestigious National Eisteddfod Gorsedd of the Bards.

In accepting his presidential role, Brain said that he was very privileged to accept the position and thanked his fellow feature county members, his family and his staff for their support. Brian went on to say that the effort made on behalf of the feature county, was for the benefit of the whole of Wales, not just Carmarthenshire.

Also taking over the mantle last week was Mrs Georgina Cornock-Evans of Harford, Llanwrda. Georgina, proposed by Mr Jonathan Davies, was officially elected as the society’s Lady Ambassador for 2017. In her acceptance speech, Georgina reminded the members present that the money raised during Carmarthenshire’s year would go towards the society’s equine project.

Carmarthenshire have already had a packed 12 months of fundraising, with over 50 events having already been taking place with activities including concerts, race nights, rugby matches, tractor runs, fashion shows, flower arranging, auctions, sheep dog trials, bingo, bike rides and speed shearing. Not forgetting the charity 2017 calendar and the large range of popular merchandise and clothing.

As a result of such a huge and successful start to their appeal, Carmarthenshire committee members were able to report that their fundraising total had already reached £100,000 to date.

With many more events planned for 2017, the county are set to have an extraordinary year with committee members busy finalising plans for the new ‘Muck and Soil’ event which will take place on 24 August 2017 at Gelli Aur Campus, Coleg Sir Gâr, Llandeilo.

Members of the Carmarthenshire Feature County committee presenting a cheque for £100,000 to the society at last week’s council meeting.

The chair and secretary of the outgoing Meirionnydd Feature County committee, Hedd Pugh and Edward Jones, proposed votes of thanks to the retiring 2016 President, Richard Jones and 2016 Lady Ambassador, Catrin Jones.

Under their leadership, Meirionnydd had had a very successful couple of years fundraising for the society’s water project which will create a private water system, consisting of borehole, storage and irrigation, to reduce the cost of mains water usage.

Richard stated that it had been a huge privilege and honour to serve as the President of the society. He thanked the Meirionnydd County for their tremendous support throughout the past 24 months and made a special mention of the work of the county’s grassland committee who organised the very successful Grassland Event held back in June at the Rhug Estate. Richard also specifically paid thanks to the Meirionnydd Lady Ambassador, Catrin, on her outstanding fundraising effort in kayaking the Meirionnydd coastline.

In total the accumulation of two years hard work resulted in the feature county raising an impressive £235,000.