John Farmer OBE has retired as show director at Hickstead after nearly 40 years in the role.

He first took on the position in 1975, and his career highlights have included hosting numerous FEI Nations Cups and booking singer Russell Watson for the 1999 European Championships at Hickstead.

“I’ve always loved the showbiz atmosphere of it all – it’s a form of theatre,” said John, who lives nearby in West Sussex. “I’ve got thousands of special memories from Hickstead, and I’ve enjoyed every minute”.

In 1996 John was nominated for an OBE by Hickstead owner Douglas Bunn, which he received from Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

“John brought great flair to the role of Show Director,” said Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn, “We will miss him enormously.”

Equestrian commentator Steven Wilde has been asked to take over as show director.