A ROYAL Welsh Show stalwart has stepped down from his role.

For many, Harry Fetherstonhaugh, from Abergele, was the leading figure behind the success of the Royal Welsh Show.

However, after 25 years, Mr Fetherstonhaugh is due to retire as honorary show director at the end of 2019, making the 100th Royal Welsh Show his last in this role.

He will continue his links with the show, though, as he is the president of the Clwyd 2020 Royal Welsh Show committee.

Clwyd is the host county for next year's event.

For a quarter-of-a-century, Mr Fetherstonhaugh has been instrumental in steering this iconic Welsh event through a host of challenges - the weather, disease outbreaks and political uncertainty to name just a few.

He has witnessed the show evolving into the amazing showcase of Welsh agriculture that it has become today.

Mr Fetherstonhaugh's association with the Royal Welsh spans a lifetime, with his family involvement going back through the generations.

His father, Major David Fetherstonhaugh, was honorary show director for 21 years, retiring in 1989.

Mr Fetherstonhaugh himself has stewarded in various sections of the show since 1977, including as chief security steward, assistant honorary director of administration and deputy show director.

In 2004, he was awarded a society gold medal for his exceptional services to the society as honorary show director.

He was presented with the award by the Queen during her visit to the show in the society’s centenary year.

He farms pedigree Romney sheep on his family farm on the 2,900 acre Coed Coch Estate, near Abergele.

In 2001, Mr Fetherstonhaugh was made an OBE for services as Forestry Commissioner for Wales.

He has also been a school governor for 30 years, and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd in 2013.

Throughout the week of the Royal Welsh Show, well-wishers and friends thanked him for all he has done towards the success of the show over the past 40-plus years.

It was after the of the awe-inspiring supreme champion of champions competition, which Mr Fetherstonhaugh judged, and the final grand parade of prize-winning stock that honorary directors and stewards surprised him with a guard of honour and a maquette of the Welsh Cob Stallion sculpture unveiled on the showground earlier in in the week.

“He has lead us with style, decisiveness, great skill and humour,” said chief commentator and vice-chair of council, Nicola Davies. “We will all miss him.”

Taken aback, Mr Fetherstonhaugh was clearly overcome by the surprise.

Referring to the team of stewards and staff, he remarked that it is like being part of a "one big, happy family".

“I have been very lucky to have been part of such a fantastic team and it has been a privilege to have been involved with the society for over 42 years, and to have been show director for 25,” he said.

“Between my father and I, we have covered 46 years of the 100 shows, as show director, and with two of my sons already having been stewards for many years, I hope my family connections with the society will continue.

“I have made literally hundreds of friends as a result of the show.

"It has been an absolute honour to be involved in such a fantastic organisation. Thank you all very much indeed.”

Mr Fetherstonhaugh's connections with the society will remain strong.

In 2020, he will become the RWAS president for Clwyd during their feature county year.

Taking over from Mr Fetherstonhaugh will be Richard Price, from Meirionnydd.

Mr Price has already had a lifelong association with the show and has been volunteering as a steward since the early 1990s.

He manages the Rhiwlas family estate, in Bala, as well as the home farm enterprises.