THERE are new faces at the top of the Melplash Agricultural Society, with the appointment of a new president and chairman.

The new president for 2014 is Helen Carless. Mrs Carless is the chairman and managing director of Lawrences Auctioneers in Crewkerne.

She succeeds Cleeves Palmer who stepped down at the AGM after his year in office.

Mrs Carless said: “It was a wonderful surprise and a great honour to be asked to be president of the Melplash Agricultural Society for 2014.

“I am very excited to be joining such a long established and successful organisation.

“The show is very much part of the fabric of the area, continuing to bring together town and country, young and old for a day of enjoyment where they can learn about the importance of farming and food production combined with lots of fun. I look forward to being actively involved.”

The new chairman for 2014 and 2015 is John Dean. Mr Dean, a retired Brigadier, is married to Sue (nee Crook) whose family have been residents in Dorset for generations.

They moved to Colly Farm in Dottery just outside Bridport in 2000 where they have a small-holding.

For the last two years Mr Dean has been vice-chairman of the society and takes over the reins from Dan Newman the previous chairman.

Mr Dean said: “The society is in its 167th year and I am determined that it continues to flourish over the next two years.

“Although I haven’t been involved in the society for as many years as some, I have learned a great deal from both Dan and Nigel Jones my predecessors and I look forward to emulating their success.

“I shall be continuing Dan’s ambition of getting more youngsters actively involved with the society, while also increasing the awareness of the bursaries we offer to those studying agri-culture.

“There is also a continuing need to reinforce the public’s awareness of the importance of farming and rural crafts and a recruiting drive for new members to the society will be part of this initiative.

“I very much look forward to working closely with the board of directors and our new president, Helen Carless in meeting these objectives.”

Farmer Will Frost was elected as vice-chairman for 2014/15.

Mr Frost runs the family organic farm, Childhay Manor, with his father Tim, at Blackdown, Beaminster.