Royal Welsh Agricultural Society each year presents a series of honorary awards to people who have given exceptional service to the society, mainly in a voluntary capacity, and in many cases for well over 30 years.
On Monday 24 July 2017 a total of ten honorary awards were presented at an award ceremony on the first day of the Royal Welsh Show. These included one honorary life membership, seven honorary life governorships, one honorary life vice-presidency and, for the first time since 2013, a gold medal.
Having dutifully officiated the award ceremony for the other nine very worthy recipients, Mr David Lewis was taken-aback with a surprise announcement from the society’s Vice Chair of Council, Mr Cyril Davies, that there was another accolade to be presented.
“Mr David Lewis is one of the only people who has held all of the highest offices within the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society since becoming a member in 1976.” began Mr Davies.
“In addition to being one of our principal cattle commentators for over 40 years and last year judging the prestigious Team of Five, David has held the positions of Chairman of the Board of Director’s and now Chair of Council. He was President in 2005, when Carmarthenshire were the feature county last, so it seems fitting that we acknowledge David’s achievements and outstanding contribution, in this, Carmarthenshire’s year.
“David’s roots are firmly fixed within Welsh Rural and cultural life. His family founded Gomer Publishing in Llandysul and he is a well-known auctioneer and Charolais Cattle Breeder. He has also held high office as Chair of the Charolais Society.
“David’s experience and knowledge has stood the Society in good stead for many years and I know that his wise counsel is appreciated by all.
“There is much that can be said about the contribution David has made to the society. He is a Fellow of CARAS and Honorary Life Vice President, however the society would like to take that one step further in Carmarthenshire’s year in recognition of his outstanding and continued contribution by awarding the Society’s highest honour – The Gold Medal.”
Given in recognition of outstanding contribution to Welsh agriculture, the very first gold medal was awarded back in 1957 to Professor Thomas James Jenkin, a director of the then Welsh Plant Breeding Station and chairman of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge. A farmer’s son from Maenclochog, Pembrokeshire, Professor Jenkins became a scientist of great distinction and a pioneer in grassland research.
The award was introduced following one of the recommendations from a ‘working party’ set up in the early 50’s by the society to examine the society’s objectives and to recommend further courses of action to ensure the society played a more effective part in influencing progressive agricultural policy in Wales going forward.
Other recipients of the society’s honorary awards are:
Honorary Life Vice-Presidency
Mrs Marjorie Evans
Marjorie has supported the society for many years, in particular as Senior Steward with the very popular Sheeptacular, together with her husband Llewelyn Evans. Marjorie also assists with Moliant y Maes.
Honorary Life Governorship
Mrs Carol Thomas
Carol has supported the society for many years and is currently a Chief Steward in the Catering and also Chief Steward (Awards) in the Produce and Handicrafts sections. In addition to other duties, Carol also writes out all of the section award cards. Carol has been actively involved in at least three Glamorgan Feature County years in 1993, 1999 and 2009. Carol is also very active within the County of Glamorgan.
Mr D Ifor Davies
Ifor, from Carmarthenshire, has stewarded in the Holstein Cattle section since 1974, some 43 years. He is a keen supporter of Carmarthenshire’s Feature County and has been personally involved as an excellent fundraiser in a number of fundraising campaigns, including this very successful year.
Mr Roger Nock
Roger Nock has recently stood down as Assistant Honorary Director of the Society’s very successful Forestry Section after 12 years in the role. Roger has brought his knowledge and contacts from a career in forestry to improve and develop the section. Roger will continue as Chair of the Forestry Committee and will also continue to steward in the Spring Festival and Winter Fair.
Mr Lyn Richards
Lyn has decided to step down as Announcer/ Commentator within the Pig Section. A role he has carried out with style for many years and is regarded as one of the voices of the show.
Lyn has been very proactive as part of the Carmarthenshire Feature year, particularly within the Northern Area Committee. He is a council member.
Mrs Audrey Lewis
Audrey has worked for the Society for over 30 years, most recently as the society’s Sponsorship Officer, a role which she had developed over many years. Sponsorship continues to be a strong element of the society’s successful model and we are grateful to Audrey for her contribution and support during her long career.
Mr Brian Jones
Brian has stewarded in the Shearing Section since 1980 and held the position of Chief Steward. He is an active member of the shearing committee, having been a previous chair and vice chair. Brian was involved in the organisation of the 1994 and 2010 Golden Shears, World Shearing and Wool handling Championships and the All Wales Ploughing and Hedging Championships held in Breconshire last year. He is a highly respected Shearing and Wool handling and Shearing judge and a member of the Breconshire Advisory Committee.
Mr Bryan S Williams
Bryan, like the previous Brian, has been involved in the Shearing Section since the early 1980’s. In addition to being a steward, Bryan is a well-respected Wool handling and Shearing Judge, having judged at world level. He was the instigator of the Wool handling competition and Honorary Life Member of the Golden Shears World Council. Bryan was also a previous manager of the Welsh Shearing and Wool Handling Team
Honorary life membership
Mrs Dilys Morgan
Dilys started out as a general steward within the Produce and Handicraft section and now holds the position of Senior Sectional Steward, particularly responsible for the Junior Cookery Section. Dilys is also a keen exhibitor.
“We are always grateful for the hard work and commitment from all the stewards and volunteers involved with the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society. In excess of 1,500 people give up their time to sit on committees, join the county advisory groups, fundraise and help with the society events, and we are well aware that this is what makes our show so special.” said Steve Hughson, Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Chief Executive.
“The presentation of our honorary society awards is a way for us to show our appreciation to those that have given exceptional service to the society for many years. It is this commitment and generosity which make the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society so successful.
“This year is particularly special, as it is not often that a prestigious Royal Welsh Gold Medal is presented. Recognising the extraordinary contribution that David has made to Welsh agriculture is a privilege that everyone here at the society is delighted in.”