Next generation of inspiring leaders open Royal Welsh Show

A busy first day has set the tone for what is predicted to be a bumper 2023 Royal Welsh Show. Visitors came in their thousands to the pinnacle event of the British agricultural calendar at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.
President of the Show John Homfray

Addressing visitors at this morning’s opening ceremony (Monday 24 July), the 2023 President, Mr John Homfray of Penllyn Estate said how proud he was to be the President of the Society during Glamorgan’s year as Feature County. “For any farmer or indeed any Welsh person, there is no greater honour than to be standing before you representing our home county at the heart of this beautiful showground.” said the President.

“We began our Glamorgan journey on August 25th, back in 2019. We have had a lot of fun over the years and made numerous friends throughout our huge and very varied county. Having raised a healthy sum for the charity the refurbishment of the Glamorgan Hall will shortly commence, and we have established the RWAS Rural Leadership Programme of which we are very proud.”

We were delighted to welcome the First Minister for Wales, the Rt Hon Mark Drakeford to the opening ceremony who welcomed and addressed attendees with a short speech.

First Minister Mark Drakeford and Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, Lesley Griffiths

The 2023 Royal Welsh Show was officially opened by three Glamorgan graduates of the 2022 Rural Leadership Programme, Emily Morgan, Joshua Govier and Natalie Hepburn.

Emily (l), Joshua (c) and Natalie (r)

Aimed at inspiring future leaders in agriculture, the programme is an opportunity to develop leadership skills at such an important time for our sector. The programme is an action-packed course of training, mentoring, support and guidance over three intense residential sessions.

“It’s a real honour to have been asked to speak at this year’s opening ceremony.” said Harper Adams Bio Veterinary Science graduate Emily Morgan during the opening ceremony speech.

“Glamorgan consists of a mixture of arable and hill landscape, as well as two cities, making not only the landscape diverse but the people as well. This is something we saw first hand through the first Rural Leadership Programme.

I know I speak for all of us when I say the course was truly life changing. Upon completion, all candidates had an even deeper passion for agriculture, and determination to make our aspirations within the industry happen.”

The second of the Glamorgan cohort to speak during the opening ceremony was Joshua Govier, Livestock Manager of the Penllyn Estate.

“Being part of the inaugural Royal Welsh leadership programme was an incredible experience.” said Joshua.

“Participating in the course has helped shape my future goals, highlighted opportunities, boosted my confidence and helped build lasting connections and even better friendships within agriculture and beyond. ”

“With pride and determination, let us continue to shape the landscape of Welsh farming, embracing innovation without losing touch of our roots. Together we can create a future that thrives on the legacy of our ancestors and the care and innovation of the generations yet to come.

Lastly, visitors heard from Swansea Chemistry graduate, Natalie Hepburn. Originally from Kent, Natalie has relocated to Wales and changed to a career in farming in recent years.

“No matter what your background, farming has relevance for all. Whether it’s lettuce or lamb, beef or beetroot, whether it’s an ice cream on Barry Island, a curry in Butetown or a roast dinner in Bargoed, we all consume food and have a vested interest in how and where our food is produced for our own health, environmental and economic reasons.”

“So here we are at The Royal Welsh Show 2023 highlighting the best of Welsh farming and food alongside some great entertainment and attractions. It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce the 2023 show now open. Sioe 2023 wedi’i hagor yn swyddogol!”

Following the opening ceremony, the Royal Welsh Show kicked off with its impressive 12-hour programme of entertainment in the Main Ring, including the spectacular display by the Spanish horse whisperer, Santi Serra, awesome stunts from the Bolddog FMX Motorbike Team, the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team, the Regimental Band of the Royal Welsh, and Meirion Owen and his beloved sheepdogs.

New for this year, the Welsh Food and Drink Village Gwledd | Feast certainly hit the spot. Many visitors flocked to the village to enjoy the variety of food on offer, from lobster rolls to woodfired pizza. The Entertainment Stage was a hub of activity with musical talent, talks and demonstrations ongoing throughout the day.

The 2023 Royal Welsh Show is the first in post for Chief Executive Aled Rhys Jones, and he was delighted to see the showground once again busting with visitors and exhibitors.

“It’s been a fantastic first day of the Royal Welsh Show, with thousands coming to see the very best that Wales has to offer, from the livestock in the judging rings, the Welsh produce in the Food Hall and Food Village to top-class entertainment and displays on our stages and Main Ring.”

As the opening day draws to a close and the weather improves, we look forward to what should be another great day at the Royal Welsh tomorrow.”

Don’t miss out! Tickets for the rest of the week are still available to buy online or can be purchased at the gate. Why not skip the queues and grab yours now?

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