THE 78th annual Ashbourne Farmer’s Ball was held at the Miraj Hotel, Derby Road, when a good number of guests gathered together by committee members enjoyed a five course meal and an evening of good compmany, dancing to the Bruce Salt disco.
In a welcome change to the proceedings the speeches took place straight after the meal with John Stubbs, secretary, presenting the current chairman, David Thorley.
David introduced this year’s president: The Right Honourable Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot DL, whom he had known for some years through delivering hay to the Countess.
Shrewsbury is the most senior Earldom by date of creation with the Earls of Shrewsbury having owned Alton Towers and many other estates; tracing family history back to Bess of Hardwick.
The Earl left school at 16, becoming a student on a farm in Shropshire, where he was paid half the going rate of £6 and he had to do overtime to pay for his board.
Beet singling did pay for a fishing holiday and his passion for hunting, shooting and fishing continues to this day.
He joined the House of Lords in 1980 becoming the youngest hereditary peer at 28 and still sits in the House, often next to Sir Henry Plum, speaking on a variety of subjects.
Having a great passion for shooting, the Earl represents the Government on committees promoting the safe use of guns.
A former president of Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society, the Earl extended his appreciation to those landowners present for continuing to allow hunting, shooting and fishing on their land.
Bouquets were presented to the wives of the president and chairman and the draw for a bottle of whiskey was made.