Incoming President Laura Dempsey with new
Vice President Ken Lyndon-Dykes.
Laura Dempsey has been appointed as the new President of the Society of Master Saddlers.
Well-known throughout the industry, after many years as a Master Saddler and Qualified Saddle Fitter, Laura is also an expert in the side-saddle world.
Laura will work closely with the Chief Executive, Hazel Morley, and the Executive Committee, along with the sub-committees over the coming year and was appointed to this new position at the Society of Master Saddlersâ€™ AGM held at The Rutland Arms Hotel in Newmarket.
Laura takes over from Peter Wilkes, with Ken Lyndon-Dykes moving into the Vice Presidentâ€™s role.
Said Laura: â€œIâ€™d like to thank Peter Wilkes for leading us ably as President for the last year.
â€œI was browsing online a couple of days ago and I came across a quote attributed to Francis of Assisi that I thought was very apt for the year ahead. He said....â€œStart by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.â€
â€œNext year the Society celebrates its 50th anniversary and since its beginnings in 1966 it has seen many changes that the founders could not have envisaged.
â€œWhat began primarily as a society representing manufacturers and retailers has now grown to encompass many more facets of the trade with more emphasis on individual saddlers and crafts people, and of course, saddle-fitting.
â€œThe Society started by doing what was necessary, which was looking after the interests of the retail trade.
â€œIt then went on to do what was possible, which was to embrace individual saddlers as members and to look far more closely at the horseâ€™s welfare and comfort, and not just that of the rider.
â€œBy doing this, the Society achieved what was once thought to be impossible; implementing standardised saddlery skills qualifications for all levels, as well as the first recognised qualification in saddle-fitting. With help and support from the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, these City & Guilds qualifications are accepted worldwide.
â€œFor our Society to continue to move forward, we need to keep an open mind, not be frightened of change, whilst not changing purely for changeâ€™s sake and to build upon and improve the standards which weâ€™ve already set.
â€œWe now have many more individual members, in both craft and saddle-fitting, of which Iâ€™m one, and those membersâ€™ expectations of the Society have changed. They want more education, help and support from us.
â€œHowever, the Executive Committee, which is made up of people who volunteer their time and knowledge, cannot do this alone. They need the members to become involved, not just with ideas of what is wanted, but by actually helping to make these things happen.
â€œA society grows on the strength of its membership and itâ€™s not just what we take out, but more importantly, what we put in.â€