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The Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire, the Hon Mrs Susan Cunliffe-Lister has taken over the role of President of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. She succeeds Raymond Twiddle who stepped down after his year in office. The Society is best known for organising the annual Great Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live.
Mrs Cunliffe-Lister is one of very few lady Presidents and has made history through her appointment. Until now, all female Presidents have been members of the royal family, namely HRH The Princess Royal in 1937, 1951 and 1957, and then HRH The Duchess of Kent in 1972.
Mrs Cunliffe-Lister will represent the Society at events around the region, preside at Council meetings as well as provide support to the Trustees.
Mrs Cunliffe-Lister said:
I have been a member of the Society for many years and as President Elect I have attended meetings of the show committees and gained a greater insight into the work it does in supporting agriculture.
Originally from Scotland, Mrs Cunliffe-Lister moved to Masham, North Yorkshire, almost half a century ago following her marriage and became involved in many community organisations, serving as a church warden, a school governor and president of the WI. She was responsible for setting up the highly successful Masham Sheep Fair in 1986, where she is still involved.
A keen gardener, Mrs Cunliffe-Lister took over the running of Burton Agnes Hall and Estate following the death of a cousin, and redeveloped the walled garden which won the Christies/HHA Garden of the Year Award in 2005.
In 2000, Mrs Cunliffe-Lister, along with her three children, bought back the family house at Swinton near Masham and converted it into a four-star hotel, which is now run by her son Mark and his wife, Felicity.
Again, Mrs Cunliffe-Lister, a former High Sheriff of the East Riding of Yorkshire, took charge of the walled garden and redeveloped it to provide flowers, fruit and vegetables for the hotel. She was also responsible for restoring and maintaining the 18th century landscaped lakes surrounded by woodland gardens. She will step down from the role as President next July.