The Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS) has appointed Sally Flanagan, a long-standing committee member and former executive director of The East Malling Trust, as its new chief executive officer. 

Sally takes over the reins from South East Farmer’s own Sarah Calcutt, who has stepped down as executive chair and has now become honorary chair of the society.

 Sally has taken over all day-to-day responsibilities of running the MFSS, which includes organising the annual National Fruit Show alongside setting up an education programme for the industry and schools together with competitions for growers and producers throughout the year.

 She said it was “an absolute honour to be appointed CEO”, adding: “The work of the MFSS is essential in promoting access to knowledge and best practice relating to agriculture and horticulture here in the UK as well as information and best practice for the storage, packaging and marketing of fruit. 

“We also have a team which provides a successful and growing outreach programme of science, nutrition and careers education to schools, and with additional sponsorship funding we can expand this across the UK.  

“This year is also the 90th year of the National Fruit Show and following the success of the 2022 show, opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex, we are looking to build on that success with an exciting event to showcase the talents of British Fruit growers, the best of British fruit and the wider industry, along with access to the latest technology that innovates and supports it.”

 Sarah Calcutt commented: “After two years as the executive chair and due to my broader work commitments, I’m delighted to hand the baton over to Sally and I’m looking forward to working with her and the team to continue to support the work of MFSS.”

 Andrew Tinsley, chair of trustees at the MFSS, thanked Sarah for her “terrific contribution over the past 16 years” and said the society was and “grateful to have her ongoing support as she reverts to the role her predecessors took”.