Welcome to our new President, Chairman and Vice Chairman

L-R Nigel Jones, Philip Hardwill & James Vickery

The Melplash Agricultural Society is pleased to welcome Mr Nigel Jones as its new President for 2020, and Mr James Vickery as its Chairman for 2020 and 2021.   Nigel succeeds Mr Tim Frost, the 2019 President.   James who has been Vice Chairman for the last two years, takes over the Chairman’s reins from Mrs Jo Sage.  Tim and Jo both stepped down at the recent Annual General meeting after completing their terms in office.  The new Vice-Chairman for 2020 and 2021 is Mr Philip Hardwill.

Nigel Jones, President 2020

Nigel Jones, a Chartered Surveyor, is a Director of Chesters Commercial based in Yeovil.   He was born and went to school in Dorchester.  His father worked in the agricultural industry and his grandfather was a butcher in Weymouth.  Apart from a brief three years in Australia and similar at university he has lived in West Dorset all his life, for the past 25 years in Cattistock.  Nigel has been involved with the Melplash Show for some 40 years.  In the early 80s he helped with the car park and selling programmes.    As well as supporting his daughter and late wife in the horse classes he has been an active competitor in the homecraft, handicraft and farm produce classes – he was disqualified from the men’s only cooking competition for not following WI rules, got a highly commended in photography and to his surprise received two firsts in the egg classes five years ago!  Nigel was the Society’s Chairman 10 years ago and became a Director when the new board was formed in 2008.

On his appointment, Nigel said, “Taking on the role of President for 2020 is a tremendous honour.  The Society has given me both fun and friendship over the 40 years that I have been involved with it, as a helper, competitor, supporter and Director.  In the role, if I can give only a little back compared with the enjoyment that the Show has given me, that will be a very worthwhile achievement!”

James Vickery, Chairman 2020/21

James is a local farmer’s son from Beaminster and a past member of Beaminster YFC where he did a stint as Chairman.  He has been involved with the Melplash Show for over 20 years, first as a steward on the cattle lines and then for 10 years as Chairman of the Cattle Section.   James ran his own agricultural contracting business with his father Roy Vickery and brother Mark until December 2018 when he took on the full-time role of Land Manager for Chedington Court Estate.  James lives in Broadwindsor, is married to Millie and has two children, Charlotte and Henry.

Commenting on his new role, James said ‘As a farmer’s son, the Melplash Show has always played an important part in my life so becoming the Chairman of the Society, a role my father Roy Vickery held in 1981, is a real privilege.  I am looking forward to continuing the hard work put in by the previous Chairman, Jo Sage, who did a tremendous job furthering the aims of the Society.  I am particularly keen to encourage more youngsters to take up the Society’s bursary scheme that gives grants to students pursuing careers in Agriculture, and to see more of them taking advantage of the Discover Farming programme”.

Philip Hardwill, Vice Chairman 2020/21

Philip Hardwill is a director of PH Hardwill Ltd in Blackdown, Beaminster, a family business started by his father, Peter Hardwill, in September 1966.   The business is now run by Philip and is brother Michael.  They employ 27 local people and keep several subcontractors busy from their base adjacent to the farm where the Hardwill family have lived for 5 generations.  Philip was born in Bridport, educated at Marshwood Primary and Woodroffe Schools before going to Salford University where he gained an honours degree in Building Surveying & Management.

In 1995 Philip married Sarah (nee Way) and his association with the Show began. Sarah’s family have been attending the Show for generations.   Her maternal grandfather, Frederick Hunt, presented the Society with the Francis Hunt stock judging cup which is presented at the YFC Stockjudging competition in memory of his eldest son Francis, who died aged 21.

Philip became actively involved with the Society through the annual hedge laying & ploughing match when he was invited to help with the organisation by the Section Chairman.  Since 1982 as a member of Crewkerne YFC he has been involved in running their ploughing match and has been the secretary of the match since 1995.    In 2010 he was invited to become a Director of the Melplash Agricultural Society.   As well as still helping with the organisation of the annual hedge laying and ploughing match he also helps with the organisation and scoring of the Young Farmers Dairy Stock Judging competition.

“Being elected as Vice-Chairman of the Society is a great honour for me, I am looking forward very much to working with James to further the aims of the Society especially the provision of education and the support of local students and the promotion of agriculture in West Dorset to the wider populace.   I look forward to working with the incredible teams of people who work so hard to bring us such a wonderful show year on year” said Philip Hardwill.