RHASS appoints Chairman Designate and 2018-2019 Presidential Team

Lord Lothian

The Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has announced the appointment of its new Chairman Designate, along with the 2018-2019 Presidential Team.


Fri, 10 Aug 2018


The Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS)

William (Bill) Gray, Farm and Estate Manager at Prestonhall Farms, has been elected Chairman Designate for 2018-2019. Appointed to the RHASS Board in 2005 as a Lothian area director, he also served as Chief Steward of car parks at the Royal Highland Show for nine years and has served on the Executive Committee for the last three years. Bill is a past Chairman of Lothian Machinery Ring and Dalkeith Agricultural Society, as well as being awarded ARAgS in 2017.

Bill Gray said: “The role of Chairman Designate gives me the opportunity to further contribute to RHASS as it continues to develop the Royal Highland Show, its additional commercial interests and fulfils its charitable objectives. It will be a huge honour to lead RHASS as it builds on the heritage of the last 234 years and consolidates its position as one of the most recognisable and reputable membership organisations in Scottish agricultural and rural circles as well as around the world.”

The Most Honourable Michael Andrew Foster Jude Kerr, Marquis of Lothian (Lord Lothian) will take the role as RHASS President alongside Vice Presidents, Sir John Campbell, Jimmy McLean, Nigel Miller and Jeanna Swan.

The Presidential team serves for one year and is made up of representatives from the geographical ‘host’ area where the Royal Highland Show would traditionally have been held when it travelled annually before it moved to its permanent site at Ingliston, Edinburgh in 1960. The Royal Highland Show was last staged in the Borders at Kelso in 1952.

Lord Lothian will preside over the 179th Royal Highland Show in 2019 with his home region of the Borders as the ‘host’ area.

Lord Lothian was first elected to Parliament in 1972 as MP for Berwickshire and East Lothian, and then for Edinburgh South from 1979 to 1987. He moved to England in 1992 to become MP for Devizes and remained there until 2010. Lord Lothian co-founded the Global Strategy Forum in 2006 which provides a platform to explore challenging and contentious aspects of UK foreign policy.

Sir John P. Campbell KB OBE FRAgS has been a member of Tweeddale District Council for 20 years and Provost for 9 years. He was poultry convener for the NFU and board director for the Royal Highland Show for 12 years – during this time one of his successes was the development of the Foodhall (now known as Scotland’s Larder Live!) which remains one of the key attractions at the Show today. Sir John currently serves as a director for the Moredun Research Institute and farms extensively in Peeblesshire.

Jimmy McLean has a BSc(Hons) in agriculture from Edinburgh University and is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies. He retired as the Chairman, Agriculture with the Royal Bank of Scotland at the end of 2016. In that role, he advised the bank on agricultural strategy, credit policy and PR.  Much of his work involved interaction with politicians and industry leaders throughout the UK and included being heavily involved in the Royal Bank of Scotland’s partnership with the Royal Highland Show. He has recently served on the Scottish Government Sustainability Working Group.

Nigel Miller graduated from the Royal Dick Veterinary College and worked mainly in large animal practice based in Rogart before returning to the Borders to farm in partnership with his father. A member of the Livestock Committee, Nigel served as Chairman and went on to become Union President. He then, in 2015, became a Board member of SRUC and SAC Commercial, for a period. At present, he is a board member of the Moredun Research Institute and Chair of Livestock Health Scotland.               

Jeanna Swan qualified as a veterinary surgeon from the Royal Dick Veterinary College Edinburgh in 1976. She was a trustee of the MacRobert Trust from October 2001 until May 2017 and an extra-ordinary Director of the Royal Highland Society of Scotland for the 2014-2015 Royal Highland Show and has continued to steward in the horse section since then. She was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire in March 2014.

Lord Lothian added: “I am very honoured to have been asked to be President of RHASS for 2018/19 and am very much looking forward to next year's Royal Highland Show. Agriculture and rural life, in general, are facing great challenges at present, and it is a time for us to show boldness, courage and resilience in facing them over the years ahead. We remain a vital part of our national economy and our traditional way of life, and we need more than ever to stand up for our values in the face of adversity. I look forward to playing my small part in this over the coming months, and I believe by working together we can look to the future with confidence."

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