Suffolk Show 2013: Drinkstone farmer Bill Baker becomes deputy show director
Robert Baker, a second generation arable farmer from Drinkstone near Bury St Edmunds has been appointed deputy show director for the Suffolk Show 2013.
It is the second time the former Culford School and Writtle College student, also known as Bill Baker, has been in the role, the first was in 2005 to Bury farmer and former High Sheriff Stephen Miles.
Bill’s involvement with the association began about 25 years ago when he returned from travelling to the family farm comprising 600 acres and became a show steward on Gate 11. From there, as a former owner of 1000 strong ewe flock, he was invited by Robert Long to be a sheep steward before Mike Hollingsworth senior steward for tradestands invited him to join him.
It was a side that Bill had knowledge. His grandfather and father, millers and agricultural merchants trading as R. Baker and Son, regularly exhibited and Bill remains intensely proud that the percentage of agricultural tradestands is as high as it is.
When Mike was made show director in 2002, Bill was voted onto the main Show Committee where he has been ever since. In 2006 he stepped into Mike’s shoes and took over as senior tradestand steward, a role taken up for next year by Sam Fairs. It is one where he has seen many changes, most recently with the significant introduction of the Sports Village and various new themed areas – including Eat Street, Fifth Avenue and the Countryside and Equine Village.
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He has just stepped down after eight years as chairman of the Schools Farm and Country Fair, a highly successful “mini Suffolk Show” for 4000 pupils aged 7-9, which has grown considerably both in attendance and in exhibitor number since it was started as a direct response to the cancellation of the Show in 2001 with the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease. He has also been involved in the Executive Board, working party for the creation of the Conference and Events Centre and is former vice-chairman and acting chair of the Felix Thornley Cobbold Agricultural Trust and currently an elected member of the National Farmers’ Union sugar board.
Speaking about his appointment Bill said that working with the Association is a huge privilege.
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“The stimulation of putting on a Show is hugely rewarding and I am looking forward to supporting David and meeting lots of new people and continuing the fantastic traditions of our first class agricultural show,” he said.
Married to Kate, Bill has built up the family farm to include 2000 acres owned and managed under arable crops. He has two children, Sophie who is following in the family agri footsteps and is reading agrifood marketing with business at Harper Adams College and Lucy who is studying for GCSEs at Framlingham College. His three stepchildren are all at Woodbridge School.