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Westmorland Chief takes up new Chairmanship

The Chief Executive of the Westmorland County Agricultural Society, has been appointed Chairman of the Association of Shows and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO).


Christine Knipe, who has been CEO at Westmorland since 2005, is already a member of the ASAO, which represents more than 200 of Britain’s agricultural events, and is known as the voice of the UK agricultural shows industry.

She takes over from outgoing Chairman, Ollie Allen, Secretary of the Devon Show and formerly of the Royal Bath & West of England Society.

The official handover took place at the ASAO’s annual Autumn Conference, hosted by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association at Dunston Hall, Norwich (13th – 15th November).

Christine is a farmer’s wife who grew up exhibiting sheep with her father, so she has a real passion for agriculture.

Her role as CEO includes the organisation of the one-day Westmorland County Show in Cumbria, recently voted Cumbria’s Tourism Event of the Year, which attracted a record gate of 35,551 for 2015.

She is also Administration Secretary of the North West Federation of Show Secretaries and has been the Honorary Secretary of the industrial section of Cartmel Show since 1992.

She believes that agricultural shows must stay true to their core messages if they are to be successful.

She said: “The ASAO works hard to encourage and share ideas and best practice between agricultural societies and related organisations, and I am delighted to be heading up a team which is committed to making Britain’s agricultural shows the very best they can be.”

Ollie Allen, who has been Chairman of the ASAO Council since 2013 said she was confident that the Association was in very good shape, and would continue to thrive under Christine’s leadership.

She said: “Show life has its ups and downs, and is naturally competitive, but the ASAO is an inclusive organisation and a friendly one too, so our members can be assured that there is always someone at the end of a telephone.

The ASAO has made great strides as an organisation in recent years and I am proud to say that we have now appointed a dedicated PR resource to help us raise our profile, and that we are just about to launch a brand new website.

I wish Christine every success in her new role.”

The ASAO Autumn Conference is an opportunity for industry practitioners to get together, exchange ideas, and discuss how shows can be improved for long-term success.

Next year’s event will be hosted by The Devon Shows (to include Honiton, Mid-Devon, Okehampton and Totnes), and takes place between Sunday 6th November and Tuesday 8th November.


For more information and/or interview/photographic opportunities, please contact:

Sharon Gilbert