Lady president from Burton Agnes makes history

Susan Cunliffe-Lister has become the first lady president of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.
Susan Cunliffe-Lister has become the first lady president of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

LORD Lieutenant of the East Riding the Hon Susan Cunliffe-Lister has made history by becoming the first lady president of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society who is not a member of the Royal family.

Susan Cunliffe-Lister, of Burton Agnes Hall will represent the Society at various events across the region, preside over Council meetings and support the Trustees in her role as president.

Mrs Cunliffe-Lister is one of very few lady Presidents and until now, all female Presidents have been members of the royal family, namely HRH The Princess Royal in 1937, 1951 and 1957, and then HRH The Duchess of Kent in 1972.

“I have been a member of the Society for many years and as President Elect I have attended meetings of the show committees and gained a greater insight into the work it does in supporting agriculture,” said Mrs Cunliffe-Lister, who is a former High Sheriff of the East Riding.

Originally from Scotland, Mrs Cunliffe-Lister moved to Masham, in North Yorkshire, almost half a century ago and got involved in many community organisations, serving as a church warden, school governor and president of the WI.

She was responsible for setting up the highly successful Masham Sheep Fair in 1986, in which she is still involved.

A keen gardener, Mrs Cunliffe-Lister took over the running of Burton Agnes Hall and Estate following the death of a cousin, and redeveloped the walled garden which won the Christies/HHA Garden of the Year Award in 2005.

In 2000, Mrs Cunliffe-Lister, along with her three children, bought back the family house at Swinton, near Masham and converted it into a four-star hotel, which is now run by her son Mark and his wife, Felicity.

Mrs Cunliffe-Lister took charge of the walled garden and redeveloped it to provide flowers, fruit and vegetables for the hotel.

She was also responsible for restoring and maintaining the 18th century landscaped lakes surrounded by woodland gardens. She will step down from the role as President next July.