David Gunner receives Royal Smithfield Club award

We are delighted to announce that our joint Chief Executive David Gunner has been announced as the recipient of the Royal Smithfield Clubs Bicentennial Trophy, one of the most prestigious awards in the UK meat industry...

Dovecote Park are delighted to announce that our own joint chief executive David Gunner has been announced as the recipient of the Royal Smithfield Club’s highly prestigious Bicentennial Trophy.

The Royal Smithfield Club was founded in 1798 at the historic Smithfield Market, the largest wholesale meat market in the United Kingdom. The club, initially named the Smithfield Cattle and Sheep Society was formed with the primary objective of promoting improvement in livestock breeding and production for the benefit of farmers, butchers and the meat consuming public.
The objective of The Club was then, and remains today, to promote best practice in the production of quality livestock and meat products to meet the needs of the consumer. Throughout its history, the club has achieved this by implementing various livestock and carcase competitions throughout the country, and publicly recognising high achievements made by breeders and farmers. Our own Carcase Competition here at Dovecote Park, held annually since 2005, is based on exactly the same principles which have guided the Smithfield Club over the years.

The landscape of the meat industry has changed enormously over the 215 years of the club’s existence. While the heyday of the Christmas show and Championships held at Earl’s Court have faded into memory, the objectives of the club of improvement and communication within the industry have remained the same.

Since 2000, the club has been awarding its Bicentennial Trophy to individuals and companies from within the meat industry - from livestock producers through to those working within education, research, processing or retail. The Trophy (pictured) is a silver Armada Dish, around the rim of which are twenty-five golden guineas, all dating from the late 1700's. These represent the loan of twenty-five guineas made by the House of Lords Farmers Club to help the foundation of The Smithfield Club. Each guinea on the trophy was donated by a person, or company, with a long association with the Club – perhaps the most notable donor being Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who was President of The Royal Smithfield Show in 1983 and from 1987 to 2001, and who granted the Club Royal Status in 1960.

The Armada Dish was donated to the Smithfield Club by Andrew Russell, the current Duke of Bedford in memory of his ancestor, Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford - who was instrumental in the formation of the Smithfield Cattle and Sheep Society, and who hosted its inaugural meeting at the Woburn Sheep Shearings in June 1799.

David joins an impressive list of past recipients of the trophy, including HRH Prince Charles The Prince of Wales, who we were honoured to welcome to our Stapleton plant last July. 

Upon receiving the award, David remarked: 

I am absolutely delighted to be receiving this award. It is wonderful to be joining such an impressive company of previous winners, and I thank the Royal Smithfield Club for the great honour that they have bestowed on me. It is particularly meaningful for me, as my family has had a long and happy association with the Royal Smithfield Club over many years. However, while I am delighted to accept it, I acknowledge that it is really an award for Waitrose, our beef producers and ourselves. I am very fortunate to work with a great customer at Waitrose and a great team of people at Dovecote Park. The principles we have tried to develop with the close nature of our supply chain are very much those initiated back in 1798 by the Royal Smithfield Club and we are all therefore really pleased and honoured to win such an award.”

We would like to congratulate David once again on receiving such a tremendous accolade, and thank the Royal Smithfield Club for recognising the principles of quality and commitment upon which we pride ourselves at Dovecote Park.