An East Devon farmer’s 50 years of volunteering at the Devon County Show resulted in him being named Honorary President of the 2022 event.
Tom Hammett, a livestock farmer from Broadclyst, East Devon, began volunteering at the Devon County Show in 1965, and has dedicated his time to the event for more than five decades.
In his role as Honorary President, this year Tom and his wife, Sarah, had a jammed-packed three days at the end-of-June show, meeting and greeting visitors and dignitaries, visiting the sections, presenting prizes and hosting events.
He said: “Being show president is a big step up from my first role which was as a livestock steward while I was still in my early twenties.
“It was when the show was still at Whipton. I was helping my father run the farm at that time and he’d only allow me one day off. But I absolutely loved it. It was the social event of the year for the agricultural community, and every farmer in the county that had a car attended.”
Devon County Show chiefs said Tom, a livestock farmer all his life, was the ‘perfect candidate’ to receive the honorary accolade.
For 40 years, he served as county chairman and trustee of Young Farmers in Devon; he was a lay member of the Agricultural Land Tribunal until he retired from the role aged 70.
Today, Tom remains a trustee of the Devon Farmer’s Benevolent Fund.
During his time volunteering at the Devon County Show, Tom has helped on the pedestrian gate, where in the late 1960s he was responsible for counting in 11,000 school children.
In the mid-1990s, Tom held the role of senior steward of car parks, gates and entrances, before progressing to Chief Steward – a role he held until 2019.
Tom, who ‘loves’ promoting British farming and food in Devon, said: “These days, I can volunteer my time to the show more freely and be relaxed about it now that I’ve handed over the running of the farm to my son, Stephen.”
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