Biographies

Robert Copley

Chairman of Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Robert Copley is the owner of Pontefract based Farmer Copleys alongside his wife, Heather. With the desire for amazing food, fantastic local produce and a warm welcome, Farmer Copleys has also showcased through its Moo Café and award-winning farm shop, how Britain and especially Yorkshire can compete with the very best the culinary world has to offer. Rob previously worked in Dorset milking 300 cows, 3 times a day, before moving to an American Breeding Service, training farmers how to inseminate cattle & classifying cattle for a computer evaluation programme. He then became a nutritionist at HST Feeds and finally working for Thompsons of York. He has several other roles having recently been appointed Chairman of the Farm Retail Association (FRA), and has a passion for championing the people and businesses who grow and sell Great British produce.

robert-copley
Charlies Mills

Charles Mills

Show Director

York farmer Charles Mills was appointed as Honorary Show Director of the Great Yorkshire Show and its sister event, Countryside Live in 2015.

He farms at Woolas Grange, Appleton Roebuck which is a mixed arable rotation, with a 250 ewe flock as well as a small beef finishing enterprise.

Charles has held a number of roles within the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, including Joint Chief Cattle Steward and as a member of the Society’s Council, its governing body, since 2002.

He chairs the judging panel for the annual Tye Trophy Farming Awards which promotes farming excellence coupled with conservation practices.

Charles has played a significant role in the educational aspect of the Society’s work, serving on its Grants and Education Committee and running arable workshops at the free Countryside Days which attract 6,000 primary school children every year. He is also a member of the management committee of the Society’s Future Farmers of Yorkshire.

Nigel Pulling

Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Nigel Pulling has been Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society since 2002, after joining as Head of Finance and Commercial Enterprises the previous year.

He recently received an Award of the Associateship of Royal Agricultural Societies (ARAgS) at the House of Lords for outstanding contribution to agriculture.

Nigel is responsible for the Society’s activities year round.  Nigel is passionate about bringing farming together and was instrumental in planning the Society’s Regional Agricultural Centre which opened in June 2009.  Nigel looks after the tenants of the RAC and the Society’s land and property portfolio as well as overseeing all financial matters.

Nigel heads up the Society’s work to raise awareness of farming and the countryside within the education sector, supporting the industry through grants and sponsorship as well as staging the Great Yorkshire Show, Countryside Live and Springtime Live.

nigel-pulling
Heather Parry

Heather Parry

MD of Yorkshire Event Centre & Deputy CEO of Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Heather Parry has worked for the Yorkshire Agricultural Society since 1993, initially as Marketing Manager and subsequently as Managing Director of the Society’s trading subsidiary company, Yorkshire Event Centre Ltd, alongside her role as Deputy Chief Executive of the YAS.

YEC Ltd hires out the Pavilions of Harrogate and the Yorkshire Event Centre for events. Heather was the mastermind behind building the Regional Agricultural Centre and Fodder.

This is the society’s HQ and home to Fodder, the only café food hall in the UK where 100% of profits go back to farmers through charity (Yorkshire Agricultural Society).

Most recently, Heather oversaw the £11 million development of Hall 1 of the Yorkshire Event Centre which scooped a national award within 12 months of opening.

Heather also launched the Harrogate Caravan Park in 2014 and all profits from these businesses, based on the showground, go to help fund the work of the registered charity, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS).

Heather is actively involved in Saint Michael’s Hospice, Harrogate.  She had previously worked in Earls Court Exhibition Centre organising and marketing large events including, The Royal Smithfield Show and The Royal Tournament.

Margaret Chapman

President of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Margaret has been Chief Cattle Steward at the Great Yorkshire Show since 2008, having become the first female Cattle Steward at the show in 1973. Margaret’s family has been part of the show for over 100 years as father Frank Chapman was an exhibitor and cattle steward and his uncle Joseph was showing Dairy Shorthorn Cattle in 1910. To celebrate the 150th show, Margaret introduced the Blythewood Pairs Competition in the Cattle Section to find the best matching pair of animals from each breed.

Margaret Chapman
simon-theakston

Simon Theakston

President Elect of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society

A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and now Joint Managing Director of T&R Theakston Ltd. Simon was also a member of Harrogate Borough Council 2002-2018. He has also been a member of YAS Executive and Trustee Board from 2001 becoming chairman in 2008, retiring in 2016; Council member of YAS from 2000 to 2018 and a Steward of the Society since 1983. Current Member of the YAS Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee. Chairman of Pub is the Hub, launched by HRH the Prince of Wales to help maintain viability of Britain’s rural communities. Immediate past Chairman of the Yorkshire Beer and Pub Association, an organisation representing the interests of brewers and pub owners in the region. Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Brewers, Master 2019/20. Appointed Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire in 2012.

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