At our December 2022 Council meeting we witnessed the ending of an era, when Alistair Black announced that he would be stepping down from the Chair. Alistair has been the Chair of the Council of the White Park Cattle Society for 18 years, but he has now decided that the time has come to take a step sideways. Alistair will be remaining a member of Council.
A broad Scot, who grew up in Angus Tayside, Alistair, his wife Ella and 2 sons re-located to the Norfolk/Suffolk border 30 years ago when he took on the role of Estate and Farm Manager at Ditchingham. It was here that he was introduced to White Park cattle, as the estate is home to the Chartley herd – one of 3 heritage herds for our breed. Alistair is an experienced stockman and became an authority on our breed, and is now one of 3 bull inspectors, working alongside President Lawrence Alderson and new inspector Henry Rusch, to ensure that only the best bulls are registered for breeding. Alistair remains one of our go-to members for advice on conformation, the potential of a calf and the management regime for cattle, having sold quality carcases to The Savoy.
As Chair of our Society, Alistair has led our Council members on their discussions surrounding our strategic direction. He has also sourced our AGM locations and made all of the arrangements, along with the help of our Treasurer James Gill, and the host members for the open day. Alistair also offers support to our Secretary, Jane, and has always made himself available for advice.
Our President, Lawrence Alderson, has worked with Alistair for 20 years. On hearing that Alistair was stepping down Lawrence said, “during almost two decades as Chairman of Council of the White Park Cattle Society Alistair Black has demonstrated a level of commitment that will be difficult to follow. His deep knowledge of our special breed is matched only by his progressive leadership and energetic enthusiasm which has propelled him around the country to visit many breeders and their herds. The Society owes him heartfelt and grateful appreciation for his immense work.”
It is difficult to estimate how many hours of his time Alistair has donated to the Society over the years, but suffice to say, we are all incredibly grateful for his generosity. Alistair has been instrumental in shaping us into the thriving Society that we are today, and we now look forward to moving forward to a new era with a new Chair.
At our Council meeting on 10 December 2022 Henry Rusch presented Alistair with a porridge spurtle (stirrer) as a present. We will also be making a presentation to Alistair at the 2023 AGM, to allow members to show their own appreciation for his support.