Mid Canterbury farmer and A&P show stalwart Richard Lemon’s early memories of agricultural shows were of riding ponies.
“We would head off to the show in the old Bedford truck loaded with sheep, the horse float hitched on the back and that was us for show day, sheep and ponies.”
It was a generational family affair, with Lemon moving through the ranks to eventually take up the reins as the third-generation Lemon family president of the Ashburton Agricultural and Pastoral Association.
Also heavily involved with the Canterbury A&P, he led the show through its 150th anniversary year, when he and wife Barbara hosted the then Prince of Wales, now King Charles, as a guest at the show.
He said the honour of being awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in the King’s Birthday Honours was never expected.
“You don’t go through life expecting these sorts of accolades.
“It’s almost to the point of [me being] embarrassed that my peers recognise me in such a way.”
Lemon said his lifelong association with the show has brought him great satisfaction.
“I really enjoy the camaraderie of all the people I work with. We are all volunteers and trying to achieve a spectacle, and the end result is people talking about the show, the smiles on the faces and people wanting to come back. There’s so much satisfaction and reward in that.”
Lemon has been involved with A&P events in both Canterbury and Ashburton, having been a committee member of Ashburton A&P Association since 1976 and serving as president between 1994 and 1995. He is currently chair of the board.
He was involved with the association as a competitor with his Border Leicester stud sheep and is now a recognised judge with the New Zealand Sheepbreeders Association for Border Leicester.
He has been a member of the Canterbury A&P Association since 1990, holding several chairs of committees during a difficult period for the association.
He has been a Canterbury A&P board director since 2001 and served as vice-president of the Royal A&P Society from 2005 to 2009.