by Anita Graafland

Every newsletter, we’ll be introducing you to a member of our Executive Team. This first issue of course had to be devoted to our incoming chair and dark op organisational star, Howard Farmer. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our outgoing Chair, Emmanuelle Brook, who kept us energised and hopeful throughout the whole anti-Brexit journey, and who has agreed to stay on the team especially to help EU citizens in Cornwall – and Cornish citizens in the EU, of course.

When standing for the position of chair, Howard described himself as “Married to Ann with 3 grown up sons, we live near Newquay and make a living from letting our barn conversions for holidays. In the past I worked for Oxfam in Kenya running a Farmers Training Centre before a return to the UK and 20 years of Market Gardening finally making it to Cornwall in 2002. […]  I really want CfE to continue to prosper and grow, remaining focussed on the issue in hand. I will be pleased to be part of the team that will take us forward, knowing that we will support and help each other to maximise our result.”

More pertinent for us as a team, though, is what he’s like as a chairman in the real world. Emmanuelle had graciously allowed him to run our Exec meetings for a while now, so we all know what we’re letting ourselves in for. As good at socialising as the next person, Howard excels at running executive meetings, firmly guiding us back to the issue at hand when we stray off topic – and we do, trust me – and not allowing anyone to talk over him, but without needing stern words to get them to stop. Meetings run by Howard are efficient, to the point, clear and we all leave feeling we’ve done a lot and achieved more. Howard always makes a point of steering us back to how we started. “We’re a campaigning group,” he’ll say, “so is there something we should campaign on this time round?” He makes sure, as do we all, that we stay apolitical and on point. We believe we’ve truly appointed the best person for the job, after Em’s big heart pulled us through the trauma that was Brexit.