The family of well-known local stockman, Bob Isted, announced his sad passing earlier this month. From all at the Edenbridge & Oxted Show, we offer our sincere condolences to the Isted family and to Bob’s friends.
One of the pleasures of an agricultural show like ours is the strong bond of friendship that forms between our volunteers, our committee members and regular exhibitors. These bonds mean that people return year after year, giving their time so freely for the benefit of the event. The loss of a friend from our community is felt very deeply by all.
The family of our Agriculture Committee member, Bob Isted, announced his sad passing earlier this month. From all at the Edenbridge & Oxted Show, we offer our sincere condolences to the Isted family and to Bob’s friends.
Bob had attended our show since his early childhood; growing up in Edenbridge the event was on his doorstep back when it was hosted at Westways. It was through his work at Gaywood Farm in 1970 when Bob began to exhibit their commercial beef cattle. Bitten by the showing bug, Bob became one of our greatest advocates among the wider farming community. He became more involved, volunteering as a steward from the early 1980s and later becoming a valued member of the Show’s Council. By this time he was working with Frank Mitchell’s herd of Sussex and Limousin cattle in Sharpthorne and the show had moved to its Gabriel’s Farm site.
Together with dairy cattle specialist Bob Felton and with the show then proudly installed at its own site at Ardenrun, Bob Isted made it his mission to build the beef cattle section at Edenbridge & Oxted to ensure it represented top class competition and offered a fantastic experience for visitors, sponsors and entrants alike. Together the two Bobs saw cattle entries climb from around 130 each year to 520. They were never without a cattle schedule and Bob took great pleasure in handing them out everywhere he went.
Whilst Bob’s advocacy was of great value, so was his drive to keep the event fresh and innovative, changing with the times. He introduced the weighing of cattle and the splitting of competition classes by weight. He started the ‘show potential’ classes and placed great importance on the introduction of calf classes to help involve the next generation of young farmers and handlers. Each of his new classes was supported by generous sponsorship that he worked hard to secure. Bob also ensured that his classes were judged by the most eminent of people sourced from far and wide.
Bob would give many, many hours to the show each year, working tirelessly in the week prior to construct and equip the cattle lines, the rings and ensuring no detail went without. Nothing was too much trouble for Bob when it came to keeping exhibitors happy. He loved the social side that showing offered and made sure that all felt most welcome at his home show.
Rhys Grenham is current Joint Chairman of the Agriculture Committee at the Edenbridge & Oxted Show and knew Bob well. He said “We face this year’s event for the first time in over 50 years without Bob Isted’s strong and familiar presence around the cattle lines and rings. We shall do our very best to create a show that would make Bob proud and we look forward to sharing our memories and to celebrating his life when we meet again this August.”
Our thanks to Bob Felton for his assistance in compiling this tribute.
Bob Isted Our thoughts are with Bob's family and many friends in the farming community.