New Chairman Announced for the Yorkshire Agricultural Society

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society is entering a new era as Chairman, Simon Theakston steps down from the role.   The Society is best known as the organiser of the annual rural showcase, the Great Yorkshire Show, and for the last eight years he has been at the  Society’s helm, leading it through one of the most exciting and innovative periods in its long history. In line with the Society’s constitution, he has now handed over the reins. He remains a member of its governing body and is succeeded as Chairman by Nick Lane Fox of Bramham Park.

Nigel Pulling, Chief Executive said: “Simon has played a pivotal role in driving forward the Society’s work not only with our showcase events, the Great Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live , but also our activities year round in support of the farming and rural industry. This has been one of the busiest periods in the Society’s history with many high profile projects coming to fruition. Simon has been the ideal person to oversee these changes and his resonance with Society’s aims, his commercial acumen particularly as Executive Director of T & R Theakston Ltd, and love of Yorkshire have been a huge asset. The legacy of his leadership will be appreciated for many years to come.”

Over the last eight years there have been substantial improvements to the Great Yorkshire Showground - it is now a leading UK events venue and is synonymous with showcasing agricultural excellence.  Improvements to the site include building the Society’s headquarters, the Regional Agricultural Centre, in 2009 and also its award winning shop and café, Fodder;  the £10m development of its main exhibition hall, as well as infra structure improvements ranging from the construction of the internationally acclaimed forge and the caravan park to new roads, car parks and drainage. 

A key part of the Society’s work year round is supporting the farming industry and over the last decade, the education department’s activities in raising awareness of the important role farmers play in producing our food and caring for the countryside have increased. Three years ago, Springtime Live joined the Society’s “show family”, the Future Farmers of Yorkshire Network was launched in 2010 and two years later, the Farmer Scientist Network was formed.

Nick Lane Fox is no stranger to the Society - the official history notes that GL Fox MP of Bramham Park was amongst the founder members in attendance at the Society’s inaugural meeting in York in 1837. Since then family members have taken various roles, including as President.

Welcoming him as Chairman, Nigel Pulling said: “Nick has been a huge supporter of the Society and the Great Yorkshire Show for many years. I am look forward to working with him to continue the successful developments at the showground of recent years and I am sure we will benefit from his extensive knowledge and experience.”

Nick’s involvement began in 1987 as a steward at the Great Yorkshire Show. He later became the Main Ring Chief Steward and joined the Society’s Council in 2005, becoming a Trustee in 2009. He has also served on a number of its committees. His interest in the countryside is well known, most particularly through staging one of the UK’s top equine events, the annual Bramham International Horse Trials.


13 September 2016

Media contact: Judy Thompson, PR Manager, 01423 546215 or

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, N. Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was established in 1837 with the primary purpose of holding an agricultural show and for the furtherance and support of farming in the region. This ethos continues today, through its flagship events, the Great Yorkshire Show (Tues 11 – Thurs 13 July 2017) and Countryside Live , (Sat 22 and Sun 23 October 2016). 

Year round it has an active programme of events and activities supporting the farming and rural communities, particularly in the North of England. These include its Future Farmers of Yorkshire group, the Farmer-Scientist Network , the Yorkshire Rural Support Network and an extensive range of education activities aimed at increasing young people’s knowledge of the important role British farmers play in producing our food and managing the landscape.

In 2009, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society established Fodder , the award-winning regional food shop and café and the Society’s commercial activities are carried out through the Yorkshire Event Centre and Pavilions of Harrogate which run a broad range of events from the Great Yorkshire Showground. For more information see


About Us

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was formed in 1837 and is a charity dedicated to supporting the farming industry and rural life. Best known for staging the annual Great Yorkshire Show, England's Premier Agricultural event and Countryside Live, it's sister event. The value of the support it provides to regional farming and countryside initiatives has risen year on year to nearly £1m. The 2016 Great Yorkshire Show runs from Tuesday 12 – Thursday 14 July and Countryside Live is on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October 2016. Both take place at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire and are flagship events for agriculture and rural life. The Society plays a key role in supporting rural life, through grants, sponsorships and has a very active education department which runs a wide range of activities aimed at increasing the knowledge of young people and their teachers about the important role farmers play in producing our food and caring for the landscape. An important date on the annual calendar is the annual Countryside Days event when thousands of primary school children use the showground as a resource for learning. In June 2009, the Society also opened its Regional Agricultural Centre at the showground which will be a focus for excellence for the industry, as well as the new home of the Society. Yorkshire Event Centre Limited (YEC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Society and all YEC’s profits go to fund its charitable work. Who's Who in the Yorkshire Agricultural SocietyChairman: Simon TheakstonPresident: Sarah YorkPresident Elect: Lord MiddletonChief Executive: Nigel Pulling