This year the society, which funds and supports agricultural education and countryside learning, welcomes Sir Richard Kleinwort as president for 2019.
Sir Richard represents the fourth generation of the Kleinwort family to be living in Sussex and working in the family business; Kleinwort Hambros (formerly Kleinwort Benson), the 200-year-old City Merchant Bank.
He is also chairman of The Richard Kleinwort Consultancy Group, has strong ties with Sussex, and heralds from a family who has been involved with the society since its inception in 1967.
Sir Richard isn’t the first member of the Kleinwort family to be President of the Society – his grandmother, Joan Kleinwort, held the position in 1988 – the same year that the family helped fund the new Norfolk Pavilion at the showground.
Sir Richard said: “Taking on the role of the society’s president is a true honour.
“Sussex is not only home to me and my family, it is also home to our farms, which is why the position means so much to me.”
Sir Richard isn’t understating his affinity with the county. In 2005 he was made a Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex, and in 2008/9 was High Sheriff.
Joining him as deputy president is Carole Hayward JP DL. Having been brought up on a farm and educated in Sussex, Carole joined the Young Farmers’ Club at the age of 13, and later married local farmer Tony Hayward.
During her career as a school teacher, Carole was keen to ensure her pupils had a good understanding of where their food came from, and in 1988 she joined the Farmers Adopt a School scheme, run by the society.
She has taken part in many of the society’s educational projects ever since, and is still involved with the family farm to this day.
Iain Nicol, CEO of the society, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Sir Richard and Carole have accepted the roles of president and deputy president for 2019.
“Educating and building understanding of agriculture and the countryside in our region is central to our overall objective.
“I couldn’t think of two individuals more suited to help us achieve this than Sir Richard and Carole, whose boundless enthusiasm and passion for the land and our cause is second to no-ones.”
Every year, the society organises and hosts events, which promote farming and the countryside.
The next event will be Spring Live! held on May 5 and 6 2019 at the South of England Showground near Ardingly.
The show will feature interactive outdoor experiences for visitors of all ages.