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03rd November, 2016

Along with being Vice Patron of The Royal Bath & West of England Society, Her Royal Highness is also  Patron of the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO), which represents the UK’s agricultural shows industry, and has accepted an invitation to join ASAO members from all over the country, at the Imperial Hotel, Torquay on Monday November 7th.


The Countess of Wessex will be met by members of the ASAO Council, including Chairman, Christine Knipe and ASAO and Royal Bath & West of England Society Secretary Paul Hooper OBE.


Royal Bath & West of England Society Secretary & ASAO Secretary Paul Hooper OBE


The ASAO came into being in 1923, but 2016 is the 60th anniversary of its prestigious annual networking event, which, on account of its English Riviera location, has been dubbed ‘Jam on Top’.


For the first time ever, the gathering, which takes place between Sunday 6th and Tuesday 8th November, has been organised by a team of one-day show organisers from the Honiton, Mid Devon, Totnes and Yealmpton shows.


Around 130 ASAO member delegates will be travelling to Devon from all over the UK, to immerse themselves in an exciting and worthwhile programme of industry presentations and panel sessions.


Main keynote speakers this year include international sports presenter Nick Brooks-Ward, who was Lead Project Manager for HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations and the UK’s National Commemorative Event which marked the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme.


He’ll be joined by Meurig Raymond, President of the NFU and long-standing advisor to the Government.


Royal Bath & West team member, James Cox will also be presenting to the conference following a trip to the RASC conference in Singapore this week.


James Cox receiving the Young Employee of the Year Award at the Somerset Business Awards 2016

Demand for trade stand space at the Conference is high, and there is already a waiting list for 2017.


‘Speed Trading’, another first for the event, is an inspiring initiative designed to give traders and suppliers a bit of a voice.


Exhibiting companies are being given the chance to pitch (for 30 seconds only) their show services and products to delegates, with allocated 1:1 follow-up slots later on in the day.


Industry figures suggest that around six million people – 10% of the population – visit agricultural and country shows in the UK each year, and each show is an important platform for both education and trade within the sphere of food and farming.


The Autumn Conference brings members together to ensure an ongoing exchange of ideas and information. It’s a great opportunity to compare notes with other show organisers throughout the UK, and enjoy the company of industry colleagues in a convivial setting.


Said ASAO Chairman, Christine Knipe: “We are thrilled that our Patron HRH The Countess of Wessex is attending the Conference this year.


Her Royal Highness is a wonderful ambassador for the Association and all its activities and in fact, was the instigator of our now established C.O.W.P.A.T. Award, which conversely, gives recognition to the best faux pas of the year, making sure that show organisers acknowledge the inevitability of the occasional mistake, and are reminded that we are all of us human!


The presence of Her Royal Highness at the Conference in its anniversary year, will make the occasion all the more special.”


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