A SKIPTON born woman who attended the former Aireville School and Skipton Girls High School has made history by being named the first female director of The Great Yorkshire Show.

Dairy farmer Rachel Coates grew up in Skipton where her grandfather Geoge Leatt owned properties and a pet shop, and her mother, Judith Addyman was manager of Craven Court shopping centre, off High Street.

Rachel, who moved to Baildon 32 years ago after getting married, will become the first woman director of the Great Yorkshire Show when she takes over from the current director, Charles Mills,  after the end of this year's 165th event, due to take place from July 9 to July 12 at the showground in Harrogate.

She said: “I am honoured to be taking over the reins as show director from Charles who’s done an amazing job over the last eight years. I have been coming to the show since I was 18 which is when I got the bug for it. My aim will be to promote the show to the younger generations so that it continues to flourish and grow.”

Charles Mills, who has been director since 2016,  said: “I can’t think of a better candidate to hand over the reins to and I know Rachel will take the show from strength to strength.”

Rachel is a member of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society Council and farms a mixture of tenanted and owned land on the edge of Baildon Moor and the urban fringe.

She has been part of the Great Yorkshire Show cattle committee for a number of years and Rachel’s family have shown dairy cattle at the event for around 15 years, winning Holstein Champion for two years running in 2023 and 2022.

Rachel has worked in advertising, retail, education, and agriculture, and is currently a director of a Community Interest Company which runs her local farmer’s market.

Passionate about British food, Rachel is also a member of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Women In Farming Network and enjoys volunteering at the Society’s Countryside Days for schoolchildren at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

Allister Nixon, chief executive officer of Yorkshire Agricultural Society said: “I am absolutely delighted that following a rigorous interview and selection process Rachel has been appointed to the role of show director. We wish her every success with her role and look forward to working with her to deliver future Great Yorkshire Shows.”

The Great Yorkshire Show attracts exhibitors and visitors from all over the country, and has sold out a week before the event every year since 2021.