Hickstead Show Director John Farmer bows out after 38 years

John Farmer © Julian Portch

John Farmer © Julian Portch - Credit: Archant

John Farmer OBE, one of the longest serving officials at the All England Jumping Course, has retired after almost 40 years as Show Director at Hickstead.

“I’ve got thousands of special memories from Hickstead, and I’ve enjoyed every minute,” says John, who lives nearby in West Sussex. “I’ve always been a showjumping lover, and this role has meant I’ve got to know some of the finest riders in the world.”

John first came to the show as a visitor, before being asked to step in as a showing steward in 1972. In 1975, John was asked to take on the role of Show Director, masterminding proceedings in the famous International Arena. “I’ve always loved the showbiz atmosphere of it all – it’s a form of theatre,” he smiles.

In 1996, Hickstead’s owner and founder Douglas Bunn nominated him for an OBE, which meant that John and his family went to Buckingham Palace to receive the award from Her Majesty The Queen.

“John brought great flair to the role of Show Director,” says Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn. “Whenever he was interviewed he spoke with passion and a genuine love for Hickstead. We will miss him enormously.”

The Bunn family have asked equestrian commentator Steven Wilde to take over as Show Director from this season. The first international show of the year will be the British Jumping Derby Meeting (26-29 June) followed by the Longines Royal International Horse Show (29 July–3 August).

For more information or to book tickets, go to www.hickstead.co.uk