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Frances calls it a Day after 25 years

THIS year's show was Frances Day's last as show secretary and chief executive of the Kent County Agricultural Society. Mrs Day is retiring in September after more than 25 years' service.

Her first show in charge came unexpectedly in 1985. At the time, Mrs Day was deputy show secretary, but found herself thrown in at the deep end when the then-secretary, John Hendry, died after a heart attack, just two weeks before the show.

Mrs Day said: "It was a baptism of fire. I took it on that year, just carried on and I'm still here."

She had begun working part-time for the KCAS as a temp during the build-up to the 1976 show, having previously been a horse steward for several years.

During her time, there have been many changes, she explained. "There has been an increase in the bookings for other big events now held in the showground.

"And planning for the next County Show begins almost as soon as the current one has finished.

"We did try and get the coaches from the Royal Mews last year but, because of the Queen's Jubilee, that wasn't possible, but we've got them now."

Mrs Day, 59, is looking forward to her retirement but knows she will miss the day-to-day involvement.

When she retires, Mrs Day's job will be restructured. Her son, Jonathan Day, currently deputy chief executive, will take over as the society's general manager, and Charlotte Bell, who joined as trade stands secretary last November, will become the secretary.

* Frances has been paid a warm tribute by Lord Kingsdown, the President of the Kent County Agricultural Society.

"We will miss her deeply," he said. "One of the great things about Frances Day is that she has shown a wonderfully sure hand in dealing with all the complications that flow from something as diverse and complicated as the County Show."

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