FOR many, Mr Harry Fetherstonhaugh is the leading figure behind the success of the Royal Welsh Show. But after 25 years Harry is due to retire as Honorary Show Director at the end of 2019, making the 100th Royal Welsh Show his last in this role.
For quarter of a century, Harry has been instrumental in steering this iconic Welsh event through a host of challenges; weather, disease outbreaks and political uncertainty to name just a few, and has witnessed the show evolve into the amazing showcase of Welsh agriculture that it has become today.
Despite the stylish suits and bowler hat, Harry can always be found in the thick of it; rolling up his sleeves, getting jobs done, ably supporting the band of hard-working volunteers and ensuring the smooth running of the show.
Harry’s association with the Royal Welsh spans a lifetime, with his family involvement going back through the generations. Harry’s father, Major David Fetherstonhaugh, was Honorary Show Director for 21 years, retiring in 1989. Harry himself has stewarded in various sections of the show since 1977, including as Chief Security Steward, Assistant Honorary Director of Administration and Deputy Show Director.
Harry is also the chairman of the Show Administration Committee, Planning and Development Committee and Vice-Chair of the society’s Board of Directors. In 2004 he was awarded a society Gold Medal for his exceptional services to the society as Honorary Show Director. Harry was presented with the award by Her Majesty the Queen during her visit to the show in the society’s centenary year.
Harry farms pedigree Romney sheep on his family farm on the 2,900 acre Coed Coch Estate, near Abergele, Clywd.
In 2001 Harry was awarded OBE for services as Forestry Commissioner for Wales. He also served as Deputy Chair of the Timber Growers Association (TGA) for fifteen years and as Chair of the TGA Welsh Committee for eight years. He has also been a School Governor for 30 years, and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd in 2013.
Throughout the week, well-wishers and friends have been thanking Harry for all he has done for the success of the show over the past 40 plus years. It was after the of the awe-inspiring Supreme Champion of Champions competition, in which Harry was bestowed the honour of judging, and the final Grand Parade of prize winning stock that Harry’s honorary directors and stewards surprised him with a guard of honour and a maquette of the Welsh Cob Stallion Sculpture unveiled on the showground earlier in in the week.
“He has lead us with style, decisiveness, great skill and humour” said Chief Commentator and Vice-chair of Council, Mr Nicola Davies. “We will all miss him.”
Taken aback, Harry was clearly overcome by the surprise. Referring to the team of stewards, and staff, Harry remarked that it is like being part of a ‘one big, happy family’. He said: “I have been very lucky to have been part of such a fantastic team and it has been a privilege to have been involved with the society for over 42 years, and to have been Show Director for 25.
“Between my father and I we have covered 46 years of the 100 shows, as show director, and with two of my sons already having been stewards for many years, I hope my family connections with the society will continue.
“I have made literally hundreds of friends as a result of the show. It has been an absolute honour to be involved in such a fantastic organisation. Thank you all very much indeed.”
We are delighted that even though he is stepping down from the demanding role of Honorary Show Director, Harry’s connections with the society will remain strong. In 2020, Harry wil become the RWAS President for Clwyd during their feature county year.
Taking over from Harry will be Richard Price from Meirionnydd. Richard, like Harry, has already had a lifelong association with the show and has been volunteering as a steward since the early 90s. Most recently, Richard has held the positions of Chief security steward, Assistant Honorary Director Administration and this year is the Honorary Show Director Designate. Richard manages the Rhiwlas family estate, as well as the home farm enterprises.