The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society has played a leading role in the development of agriculture and the rural economy in Wales for over a century, since its formation in 1904.
Today our work includes providing support for business, social welfare and education in rural communities, and the organisation and staging of our ever-popular society events; the Smallholding and Countryside Festival, the Royal Welsh Show and the Winter Fair.
The opening day of the 100th Royal Welsh Show welcomed huge crowds and a host of special guests to the showground in Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.
Addressing visitors at yesterday’s (Monday 22 July) opening ceremony, the 2019 President, Mr Seimon Thomas, explained how proud he was to be the president of the society during Pembrokeshire’s Feature County year. “As a county our membership is small, but as a unit we are great! It is the feature county format which galvanises communities, promotes agriculture at its finest and supports the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society”
“It is with great pride that we stand here today as three generations of the same Dryscolgoch family, all of whom have exhibited at this wonderful show, and this morning we have three generations of the Mansel Davies family, Scott, Stephen and Kaye, to open the show.”
The Mansell Davies family company has evolved since it began back in 1879… where it used to be steel and coal, milk from West Wales has now become Mansell Davies’ most hauled product. The business of today currently runs 200 trucks and employs 300 people, in an area of Wales where employment options are limited, with 80% of the business directly linked to agriculture.
“The Royal Welsh Show is the pinnacle agricultural event in the UK. Over the years it has evolved to the overwhelming success story we see before our very eyes today, the 100th show, a success story that has spanned generations of country folk, farmers and leading citizens of our nation.” said Scott, Stephen and Kaye in their speech.
“The featured county arrangement since 1963 has allowed this great institution to flourish year on year by investing in new and better facilities, none of this could be achieved without the fantastic efforts made by the host counties with this year being no exception.
“Long may the feature county tradition continue to enable the Royal Welsh Show and the society to act as the link between town and country, urban and rural and food and consumer.”
Following the opening the ceremony, we were delighted to welcome The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to the show. During their visit, Their Royal Highnesses opened a new equine arena, unveiled a full sized sculpture of a Section D Welsh Cob Stallion and officially opened a new garden on the showground, created specifically to commemorate the 50th anniversary of HRH’s investiture as The Prince of Wales. There was also an opportunity for them both to meet with exhibitors, stewards, traders and showgoers and even present a number of prizes in the judging rings.
The royal couple were also joined by other royal visitors to the show, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu and Queen Pumi, head of the Zulu nation. Visiting Wales on the 140th anniversary of the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879, where members of the now Royal Welsh Regiment fought at Rorke’s Drift, King Goodwill aim’s to strengthen the now burgeoning relationship between Wales and the Zulu’s of Kwazulu-Natal.
Along with meeting influential farming leaders and other members of the agricultural industry, King Goodwill intends to take back to his nation many examples of good practice to further improve their farming skills. Sharing good practice goes back to the reason agricultural societies were originally set up.
Accompanied by a group of members of the Zulu Regiment performing a traditional Impi warrior dance, King Goodwill and Queen Pumi met The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall whilst at the Royal Welsh Show, before embarking on their own busy itinerary.
Back at the top of the showground, our 2018 President, Mr Tom Tudor, officially opened the society’s new Member’s Bar, Maes M, which was built with the support of the Montgomeryshire Feature County. This modern building will deliver new facilities, better audio and visual entertainment opportunities and more space outside for our young members to enjoy, whilst also benefiting from a safer environment. It will also produce a new facility on the site for use throughout the year.
Later in the afternoon it was the turn of our other VIP’s to have the limelight. Following a morning of washing horses and preening poultry ready for their competitions the following day, Bethan and Arwel, our loved-up couple, tied the knot in the heart of the show.
Surrounded by an intimate group of friends and family (and thousands of happy well-wishers) Bethan and Arwel exchanged vows in our picturesque bandstand. Following the ceremony, the newlyweds enjoyed a glass of bubble and canapés with their guest before being whisked away in a chauffeur driven Porsche to join presenters Angellica Bell, Matt Baker and Michael Sheen on live on The One Show, where they performed their first dance in studio overlooking the main ring.
“We couldn’t have wished for a better first day of our 100th Royal Welsh Show” says Chief Executive, Steve Hughson. “It’s been a very busy, but amazing day; a mega Monday! The showground looks incredible… crammed full of visitors enjoying the very best of Welsh agriculture. We are looking forward to three more fantastic action packed days.”