Richard Lemon reckons showing is in his blood.
It’s what led him to once rub shoulders with King Charles and now he’s been awarded an honour by him.
The semi-retired Lauriston farmer, 72, has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for his services to the agriculture and pastoral industry.
Lemon has been involved with the Ashburton A&P Association since 1975, and the Canterbury A&P Association since 1990, in various capacities including terms as president of both associations.
He is currently chairperson of the Ashburton A&P Association board, and has been a director of the Canterbury A&P Association since 2000.
Lemon said he was very humbled and surprised to receive the honour.
“I’m just an ordinary guy who has worked with the A&Ps because I like doing it.”
He said the team of volunteers behind each Canterbury A&P show put in more than 22,500 volunteer hours.
“I’m humbled by this honour when we’ve got that much volunteer work happening around us.”
Lemon grew up attending the local A&P shows, either riding his pony or showing sheep from the farm that has been in the family since 1884.
With three generations of showing sheep, “showing got into my blood”.
It was natural for Lemon to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, who were both past presidents of the Ashburton association.
He served two years as president himself in 1994 and 1995.
In 2012, Lemon got to rub shoulders with the then Prince and Princess of Wales in his role as president of the Canterbury A&P Association.
Along with his wife, Barbara, Lemon spent a few hours hosting the royal couple when they attended the 150th Canterbury A&P show in November, 2012.
Lemon has played an an active role in ensuring that the annual two-day Canterbury show runs to the expected standard, including nine years in a role co-ordinating the event management.
He was also part of the national Rural Agricultural Society for nine years, and vice president for four years in the early 2000s.
He is still active in both A&P associations.
“The challenges that these organisations now face are how to keep pace with technology changes and the sustainability factors that the farming sector are addressing and to be able to showcase these to our urban cousins,” he said.
In more recent years, Lemon took on the role of chairperson of the board of the Ashburton A&P Association and was part of a group to rewrite its constitution.
He plans to continue his work with both associations and pass on his extensive knowledge to the younger generations.
For Lemon, the joy is in seeing the enjoyment on the faces of children and families when they attended the shows.
He is also excited to be part of a planned revamp of the Ashburton showgrounds.
- By Sharon Davis