Tree planted at showground in memory of former Royal Norfolk Show chief John Purling

The late John Purling, then chief executive of the RNAA, pictured at the 2012 Royal Norfolk Show wit

The late John Purling, then chief executive of the RNAA, pictured at the 2012 Royal Norfolk Show with show manager Sarah de Chair. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

An informal tree-planting dedication was held at the Norfolk Showground in memory of a former chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA).

The late John Purling, who died in April last year aged 69, was at the helm of the RNAA for 18 years until 2012.

A 40-strong group, including his widow Ena and family, met under leaden skies to plant a large-leafed lime near the light horse ring – just yards from his former office.

The Dean of Norwich Cathedral, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, who was the 2017 RNAA president, led the dedication and brief prayers.

When a long-established tree fell in the January storms, chief executive Greg Smith said it was fitting to plant a replacement in Mr Purling's memory.


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Among those gathered at the showground were Sir Timothy Colman, who was chairman of council when Mr Purling was appointed general manager in 1994. Two years later, he became chief executive, working with Henry Cator and finally Sir Nicholas Bacon, who stands down as chairman of council next April.

This year's president, Ben Turner, and other senior officials including finance director Grant Pilcher, vice-chairman Rob Alston, and head stewards, past and present, also attended.

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