Woman to lead farmers' club for first time in its history

Karen Ridgeon, the new chair of the Bury St Edmunds & Farmers Club management committee, with Tom Laflin, the new chef-patron

Karen Ridgeon, the new chair of the Bury St Edmunds & Farmers Club management committee, with Tom Laflin, the new chef-patron - Credit: Sandy Miles

A farmers' club has elected a female chair of its management committee for the first time in its 75-year history.

Karen Ridgeon has been elected to the role at the Bury St Edmunds & Farmers Club after playing an invaluable part in ensuring the club’s continued future despite the challenges of the pandemic.  

She takes over the reins from Simon Spence QC who has been the club’s chair for the past four years and stood down from the role at last week’s AGM. 

Ms Ridgeon has been a member of the eight-strong management committee for the past three years.

The club said with her professional qualifications in catering, considerable ‘front-of house’ expertise and over 30 years accounts experience, she was "ideally placed to ensure that the club’s team continues to deliver food, service and an ambiance to delight both club members and other customers".

Ms Ridgeon said: "I’m delighted to be stepping into this role at what promises to be a very positive time.

"Having successfully weathered Covid, we have recently appointed a talented new chef-patron, Tom Laflin, who is inspiring members to eat increasingly frequently at the club with his creative culinary skills!

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"The club is an ideal size and location to be a popular venue for smaller post-Covid weddings so external bookings are booming. We are also starting to see applications from new members who wish to join us and enjoy all the club has to offer, so the committee is feeling very enthusiastic about the year ahead.”

Ms Ridgeon has lived and worked in Bury for many years, including in a finance and administration role for local farmers for the past 11 years, although this is not the route through which she joined the club. 

The club was originally founded in 1947 primarily for farmers and the professionals who worked alongside them.  

Over the years the membership has changed and now numbers a wide variety of individuals and businesses.

The Bury St Edmunds & Farmers Club is in Northgate Street in the town centre.

It is also available to book for weddings, parties and corporate events.