TV presenter Noel Edmonds (right) stepped down as president of the British Horse Society (BHS) yesterday at the charity’s AGM in London. His successor is Desi Dillingham, former chairman of British Dressage (BD).

Patrick Print, BHS chairman, praised Noel for helping to modernise the image of the society. He said: “He’s really helped debunk the myth that the BHS is a stuffy and old-fashioned organisation.”

In his speech at the AGM Mr Print outlined some of the BHS’s successes in its Diamond Jubilee year, including the boosting of its membership to record level.

MS Dillingham told H&H that increasing the membership further would be a priority of her presidency. She said: “I doubled the membership at British Dressage but it was never going to grow the way BHS could grow. I’ll be looking to find a way to bring everyone in, whether they’re an owner, a rider, or just a horse-lover.”

In his final speech to the BHS Noel spoke of the need for change and urged that the charity be run more like a business. He told H&H: “The BHS needs to decide whether it wants to continue as a fairly modest animal welfare charity or if it is going to take on the bigger riding issues.”