Managing Director Of Yorkshire Event Centre To Move On
Heather Parry, Managing Director of the Yorkshire Event Centre Ltd on the Great Yorkshire Showground, is to move on to a new chapter after nearly 30 years.
Heather is set to take a break after an incredible innings, where she has taken the business from strength to strength.
Heather’s drive, passion and determination was behind the creation of Fodder, farm shop and café in 2009 and the multi-million pound refurbishment of the Yorkshire Event Centre in 2016. More recently, she helped diversify the business further by taking on the management of three farming based associations; the Farm Retail Association, British Christmas Tree Growers Association and National Farm Attractions Network. She has also overseen moving the UK’s biggest outdoor holiday home show from Hull to Harrogate and her team has taken on the organisation of the Great Holiday Home Show – which will take place in September and be her last event before leaving on Friday 29th September.
Heather said: “I am so proud of the things that have been achieved working with an amazing team. When I arrived the income from activities outside the Great Yorkshire Show was £40k so we have come a long way to the current £7m. There have been so many highs; from welcoming President Bill Clinton and Sir Elton John, among many others, to creating Fodder and building Hall 1.
“My career here has been wonderfully diverse; with people at the heart of it all; I feel so lucky to have worked with a myriad of clients, dedicated suppliers and a phenomenal team who have been a joy to nurture and develop. After 30 years it is now time to hand the baton on and seek new adventures.”
Allister Nixon CEO said: “Heather has had a huge impact on the business, being instrumental in shaping and forming what we are today with vision and sheer hard work. Heather will leave an amazing legacy to be proud of.
“She has been part of the fabric of the Society for so many years and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Heather for her hard work, dedication and significant contributions and wish her the very best in her future endeavours.”
Heather came to the Showground fresh from London after working at Earls Court Exhibition Centre marketing large events including, The Royal Smithfield Show and The Royal Tournament and started as Marketing Manager of the Great Yorkshire Show and while in this post she oversaw the building of the Pavilions of Harrogate which held its first event in 1996.
Heather was soon promoted to Managing Director of the commercial arm of the Showground overseeing the Pavilions of Harrogate and the Yorkshire Event Centre (YEC).
In 2001, Heather oversaw the building of Hall 2 of the YEC which went on to host a range of prestigious and high profile events including the Yorkshire International Business Convention which would bring world class figures to the region: from Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the former US Secretary of State Dr Henry Kissinger.
The YEC has gone on to become the largest single event space in the North East after a recent £11 million refurbishment of Hall 1. This has been YAS’s biggest capital investment and largest project in its 186-year history. Within 12 months of opening, it scooped a national award after winning ‘Best Venue Under 8,000sqm’ in the Exhibition News Awards. There were more awards, including Business Tourism Award 2018 in the White Rose Awards, Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards – Best Commercial Space 2018, Project of the Year Winner 2017 and Commercial Space in the RICS Awards Yorkshire & Humber. Most recently, YEC achieved a Gold Level Eco Smart Award.
Heather was behind the idea of creating Fodder, farm shop and café to support farmers in the aftermath of foot and mouth. Fodder is the only farm shop in the UK where 100% of profits go back to farmers through charity (Yorkshire Agricultural Society). Fodder stocks and supports more than 430 local suppliers.
Heather also led the transformation of a disused area on the Showground into what is now the Harrogate Caravan Park. With 67 pitches for caravans, motorhomes and tents.
The growth of the commercial side of the showground, means more money is raised for the farming community through the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. This can range from educational initiatives like funding free Countryside Days for 6,000 primary school children to sponsoring a Nuffield Scholar to health checks for farmers which could save a life.
- Businesses and events held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in 2019 contributed £73.7 million to the economy.
- All profits raised from Fodder, Harrogate Caravan Park and hosting events at the Yorkshire Event Centre and Pavilions of Harrogate go to help fund the work of the registered charity, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS)
- The YAS organises the Great Yorkshire Show as well as supporting and promoting the farming industry through health care, education and funding scientific research.
- The YAS is supported by its family of businesses including Fodder, Yorkshire Event Centre, Pavilions of Harrogate and the Harrogate Caravan Park as well as events Great Yorkshire Show and Springtime Live.
Jo Francisco. PR Manager Email: email@example.com I Tel: 01423 546215 | Mobile: 07954 007414