Top soldier named as next show president

Britain's top soldier General Sir Richard Dannatt is to become the next president of the Royal Norfolk Agricult-ural Association. He will take office during the centenary year of the Royal Norfolk Show, which was granted permission by King Edward VII to use the prefix "Royal.

Britain's top soldier General Sir Richard Dannatt is to become the next president of the Royal Norfolk Agricult-ural Association.

He will take office during the centenary year of the Royal Norfolk Show, which was granted permission by King Edward VII to use the prefix “Royal.”

Gen Dannatt, who has lived in the county for many years with his wife Phillipa, is the most senior military officer to serve as president of the RNAA which was established in 1847.

Henry Cator, who is the retiring chairman of the association, said: “We are honoured and delighted that General Dannatt has agreed to be our president for 2008.


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“Norfolk has always played a special part in his life and we look forward to welcoming him in our centenary year both at association events and during the two days of the show,” he added.

Sir Richard will take up his role at the association's annual meeting, which is held at Easton College, on January 17 when members will be asked to accept the recommendation.

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Gen Dannatt, aged 56, who was appointed chief of the general staff in August 2006, will take up his post in the centenary year of the Royal Norfolk Show, which is held on June 25 and June 26.

In last Saturday's EDP, Sir Richard publicly thanked the people of East Anglia for supporting soldiers who had risked their lives in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The remarkable success of the EDP-backed appeal to raise £100,000 for the Royal Anglians' Memorial Fund was a further demonstration of the wide public support, he said.

Brought up in Essex, he went to Felsted School, near Great Dunmow, and St Lawrence College, and graduated from the University of Durham with a BA in economic history. His wife is also a graduate of Durham University.

He was commissioned into The Green Howards in 1971 and then went on to serve with the lst Battalion in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Germany and commanded the battalion in the Airmobile role from 1989 to 1991.

From l994 to 1996, he commanded 4th Armoured Brigade in Germany and Bosnia. He took command of 3rd (United Kingdom) Division in January 1999 and also served in Kosovo that year as commander British forces.

In 2000 he returned to Bosnia as the deputy commander operations of the Stabilisation Force (SFOR). From 2001 to 2002 he was the assistant chief of the general staff in the ministry of defence before taking command of Nato's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.

In March 2005 he took over as commander-in-chief land command and later assumed the appointment of chief of the general staff.

He and his wife, who married in 1977, have three sons and a daughter, with one son currently serving as a platoon commander with the Grenadier Guards as a lieutenant in Afghanistan, alongside men of the 1st battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment.

It was on March 7, 1908, that Mr Secretary Gladstone, wrote from Whitehall to Viscount Coke, of Holkham, the former president of the Norfolk Agricultural Association: “His Majesty has been graciously pleased to grant the desired permission and to command that the association be henceforth known as the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association.”

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