YAS Team

Chairman of Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Robert Copley

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.

Show Director

Charles Mills

York farmer Charles Mills was appointed as 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. Charles has recently launched a new business as a new rural wedding venue.

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.

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.

Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Nigel Pulling

Nigel Pulling has been Chief Executive 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 was instrumental in planning the Regional Agricultural Centre – the YAS HQ – which opened in June 2009. He looks after the RAC’s tenants, 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.

Managing Director of Yorkshire Event Centre and Deputy CEO of Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Heather Parry

Heather Parry has worked for the Yorkshire Agricultural Society since 1993, initially as Marketing Manager and subsequently as Managing Director of the Yorkshire Event Centre Ltd, alongside her role as Deputy Chief Executive. Heather was the mastermind behind building the Regional Agricultural Centre and onsite farm shop café Fodder as well as the £11 million development of Hall 1 of the Yorkshire Event Centre. Heather also launched the Harrogate Caravan Park in 2014 and all profits from these businesses go to help fund the work of the YAS.   She had previously worked in Earls Court Exhibition Centre organising and marketing The Royal Smithfield Show and The Royal Tournament.

President of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Margaret Chapman

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.

President Elect of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Simon Theakston

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.

YAS Council Members

Division Name Committee
North Yorkshire Margaret Chapman
James Cooper Yorkshire Event Centre Board (Chair)
Guy Cowling
Steven Crabtree Trustee, Audit & Investment
Fred Fairburn
Malcolm Gill
Stuart Goldie
James Hopwood
Peter Molyneux Audit and Investment
Christine Ryder Charitable Activities
Michael Smith Charitable Activities
Christine Thompson Trustee and Charitable Activities
East Yorkshire Henry Chadwick
John Fields
Ian Gilliat
Fay Grace Charitable Activities (Chair)
Richard Morley
Geoff Riby
West Yorkshire Rob Copley Trustee
David Green
Andrew Hughes
Nick Lane Fox Trustee (Chair) & Nomination (Chair)
Tom Rawson
Bob Richmond
South Yorkshire Richard Hincliffe
Robin Metcalfe
Chloe Palmer
Co-opted Eddie Andrews
Geoff Brown
Neil Eastham
Andrew Fallows
John Fenton
Martin Fish
Charlie Forbes Adam Trustee
Angus Gowthorpe
Alice Liddle
John North
Richard Rusby
Paul Russell Trustee & Audit and Investment
Vicky Scott
Hugh Sheddon
Ex-officio Tim Whitaker Askham Bryan College
Rob Edwards Farmer Scientist Network
Bill Meredith Bishop Burton College
Harrogate Borough Council Cllr Margaret Atkinson
Cllr Victoria Oldham
North Yorkshire County Council Vacancy
Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers Tim Weatherhead
Non-Council Committee Members Helen Collin Audit and Investment (Chair)
Rebecca Scott Audit & Investment
Christy York Audit & investment
John Fielden Charitable Activities
Martin Redfearn Charitable Activities
Maurice White Charitable Activities
Simon Theakston Remuneration
Peter Myers YEC Board
Rob Whitehead YEC Board

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