R.A.B.I elects first Welsh Chairman in 156-year history

Malcolm Thomas MBE ARAgS is the new chairman of farming’s oldest welfare charity, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I). He is the first Welshman to be elected to the position in the charity’s long 156-year history.

Malcolm Thomas MBE ARAgS

Malcolm Thomas MBE ARAgS

Malcolm Thomas MBE ARAgS is the new chairman of farming’s oldest welfare charity, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I). He is the first Welshman to be elected to the position in the charity’s long 156-year history.

Malcolm took over the helm following this week’s AGM at The Manor Hotel in Weston-on-the-Green, Oxford, which was attended by more than 200 members of staff, committee members and supporters. He replaces Cornishman Chris Riddle, who is stepping down as a trustee after 10 years. Malcolm, a farmer’s son from Llangynog in Carmarthen, first became a R.A.B.I trustee in 2011.

He is a rural client manager for JCP Solicitors and has worked in many high profile and influential roles for the Welsh Office, NFU England and Wales and NFU Cymru. He is a life member of the Young Farmers Club and was awarded an MBE in 2012 in recognition of his services to agriculture.

James Orme, a retired solicitor and former regular and Territorial Army officer from Somerset, becomes deputy chairman of R.A.B.I, a role previously jointly filled by Malcolm and William Cumber.

Last year, R.A.B.I gave out grants of around £1.9 million to farming people in financial need throughout England and Wales and helped people in hardship claim more than £390k in state benefits and tax credits. The charity, first formed by Essex farmer John Mechi in 1860, gave out emergency grants of around £88k to flood victims in the north of England at the turn of the year.

New chairman Malcolm Thomas said: “It is an honour and a privilege to serve as chairman of this great organisation. R.A.B.I exists to help farming people in hardship and I want to spread the word throughout England and Wales that we are here to help. The general farming situation is something we are all concerned about, which means R.A.B.I’s work is as vital now as it ever has been. We are here not just for those of retirement age, but also for the working farmer.”

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