Tributes to ‘unflappable English gentleman’ who served the Royal Norfolk Show for 40 years

PUBLISHED: 15:32 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:27 08 October 2019

Long-serving Royal Norfolk Show head steward David Sutton (left) has died at the age of 71. He is pictured at the show with the Duke of Edinburgh.

Long-serving Royal Norfolk Show head steward David Sutton (left) has died at the age of 71. He is pictured at the show with the Duke of Edinburgh.


A dedicated head steward who was a “wonderful ambassador” for the Royal Norfolk Show for more than 40 years has died at the age of 71.

David Sutton, from Elsing, near Dereham, died on September 27 after a brave three-year battle against acute myeloid leukaemia, said his family, despite the efforts of the committed staff of Kings College Hospital in London and a stem cell transplant from his sister Judy.

He joined the Royal Norfolk Show in 1974, initially as a cattle steward before becoming head steward of light horses, a position he held for about 20 years until his health forced him to relinquish the role following the 2016 show.

He was responsible for more than 1,000 horses and riders as well as a large group of stewards, and his show highlights included meeting Prince Charles, Princess Anne and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Speaking on behalf of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, former show committee chairman Robert More said: "David Sutton was held in the highest regard by all who worked with him at the show for his great efficiency, dignity, intellect and, above all, his affable nature.

"David was an unflappable English gentleman and a wonderful ambassador for the Royal Norfolk Show, who is much missed."

Mr Sutton was born at Manor Farm in Barford and, after attending Wymondham County Grammar School, he studied at Easton Agricultural College before joining the Norfolk Agricultural Station in Sprowston as trials assistant with NIAB. His talents quickly shone through and he went on to become farm manager when the facility transferred to Morley and became the Morley Research Centre.

As his career progressed he became farm manager for WRB Foster at Lexham Hall Farms and ended his career on the technical side of farming with Agrovista at Great Ellingham.

A Norfolk man through and through, Mr Sutton was a lifelong supporter of Norwich City Football Club, a member of the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club at Brancaster and a past captain of the Royal Norwich Golf Club. His family said he liked nothing better than walking his beloved Labrador Nellie in the Norfolk countryside.

He leaves his wife Marina, stepson and daughter-in-law Richard and Vicki, and grandson Rory. The funeral is at Earlham Crematorium at 1.15pm on Wednesday October 23.

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