New chief sheep steward appointed at GYS

Susan Cunliffe-Lister, chief sheep steward at the Great Yorkshire Show.
Susan Cunliffe-Lister, chief sheep steward at the Great Yorkshire Show.
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A new chief sheep steward has been appointed for the Great Yorkshire Show after the previous incumbent in role Henry Watson stepped down following illness after 19 years.

Mr Watson, of Driffield, has been involved with the show’s organisers, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), for 57 years in total and is replaced as chief sheep steward by Susan Cunliffe-Lister, the Lord-Lieutenant of East Yorkshire.

Mrs Cunliffe-Lister, who was the show’s president two years ago, has also been a member of the YAS for many years, and is known for launching the Masham Sheep Fair in 1986, to which she continues to contribute.

Bill Cowling, the Great Yorkshire Show’s honorary director said: “We are hugely grateful to Henry for his extremely valuable contribution over the years. During his tenure the sheep section has grown substantially, by 49 per cent, from 1,538 entries in 1995, which is a major achievement.

“We obviously know Susan well and are looking forward to working with her. She will bring ‘fresh eyes’ to the section and I am sure we will benefit from her wise advice and knowledge.”

The sheep section at the Great Yorkshire is one of the largest at the event, consistently attracting more than 2,000 entries. Over 30 breeds are represented and this year’s Great Yorkshire attracted a record 2,292 entries.

Mrs Cunliffe-Lister said: “I am delighted to continue my involvement with the Great Yorkshire Show and hope that my experience with running the Masham Sheep Fair for over 25 years will be useful.”

A keen gardener, she took over the running of Burton Agnes Hall and Estate in 1990 and redeveloped the walled garden is a past winner of Christies/HHA Garden of the Year Award.

In 2000, the family house at Swinton was bought back and converted into a four-star hotel, which is now run by her son Mark and his wife, Felicity.

The 2015 Great Yorkshire Show will take place on Tuesday, July 14 to Thursday, July 16.