THE President of Devon County Show 2023 will be the Hon John Rous DL.
The Devon County Agricultural Association has today, Thursday, announced the appointment of John, who originates from North Devon and has a heritage in Devon farming. His father bred Red Rubys and John spent much of his childhood, when he wasn’t at school, droving cattle from farm to farm around North Devon from the Parkham base.
When John’s father retired, his gift to John, who was still a teenager, was a dozen Devon Close Wool sheep. John spent the next few years growing the flock successfully to 100.
A further gift from his father was a lifetime membership to his favourite agricultural event - the Devon County Show.
‘It was the most wonderful and thoughtful gift,' says John. The show was always the highlight of the year for me and I’ve been visited just about every year since. But always as a spectator rather than a participant.
'When the Devon County Show approached me with the Presidency opportunity I was truly honoured, and delighted to take up the role for 2023.
'I have always greatly admired the dedicated work of all the volunteers who help make the show what it is – the biggest and most successful agricultural event in Devon. Now is my chance to give something back.’
As the owner of the Clovelly Estate, John’s specialism in recent times is geared towards the tourism sector. But with his Devon County Show President hat on, John has decided to forge a different path for the 2023 show.
‘Innovation and creativity in finding practical solutions to problems is what really fascinates me. That’s why for 2023, we are creating the Devon Innovation Zone – a brand new feature for the Show.
The Zone will comprise a 30 by 9 metre marquee which is being curated in association with the University of Plymouth and will invite creative businesses all around the county to showcase their cutting-edge ideas to the huge and varied Devon County Show audience. The size of the business or the sector is not important. What is critical is that it demonstrates creativity at its very best.’
John Rous and wife, Zeenat, are greatly looking forward to attending the Show on May 18, 19 and 20.
‘I will be there in an official capacity, of course, but if I do get a bit of time off, it will be to sneak into the food tent to grab some Quicke’s Farmhouse Cheddar, - to my mind the tastiest cheese in the world.’