Professor Suggett’s career spanned decades and saw him travel to the USA, Canada and China
PROFESSOR R.H. Graham Suggett OBE died on 7th November due to failing health at the age of 87.
Born in 1936 in north Yorkshire, Professor Suggett was educated at Darlington Grammar School and the Universities of Nottingham, Newcastle, Hull and Warwick.
He married Inger in 1959 and the couple had three sons, David, Arne and Iain.
Being a child during the Second World War, Professor Suggett was aware in his early life of the importance of domestic food production - a necessity of wartime England - and this, together with his interest in outdoor adventure and self-sufficiency, further developed by his father’s posting abroad for the duration of the war and his early days in the Scout movement, led him to a full working life in agricultural and countryside education.
He taught many others during his time and also researched development methods to improve
agriculture and training.
He travelled to Norway as a young man to learn its farming methods and he met and married Inger his lifelong partner and best friend.
After working in Huddersfield, Northumberland and East Riding the family moved to
Warwickshire in 1974 where Graham had been appointed to the post of Principal of
Warwickshire College of Agriculture at Moreton Morrell. He retired from there in 1996.
He was awarded a Winston Churchill travelling fellowship in 1971 that saw him travel to the USA and
Canada to research farming resulting in many new friendships and collaborations.
Observing the intensive monocultural farming methods made him reflect on the way in which
agriculture might develop in the UK.
He was not prepared to see the continuing loss of natural habitat and developed ways to both improve farming methods and support ecosystems. He and others proved the benefit and necessity of biodiversity years before its current popularity. He presented lectures on this topic to many institutes including The Royal Society by invitation of Prince Philip.
Professor Suggett was a member of the committee advising the European Union Rural Development Committee and he also made several visits to China as a travelling professor of Beijing University advising on varied agricultural issues, rural incomes, equine policy and aeration of fishponds.
Graham also saw there was a dire need to provide higher education in the equine sector to
support its development and introduced some of the first dedicated horse courses in the UK as well as the UK’s first Equine Degree. This also led to his involvement of the horse passport and the National Equine Database with the National Equine Forum and the Princess Royal.
He was endlessly creative involving himself in many works of charity nationally and internationally this included Rotary International and the Norton Foundation but he also diversified his supporting roles from eye and polio health programs in India to helping a Romanian orphanage support itself with a food production business.
He has been a tireless example of service above self and inspiring others to find the best in
themselves and he will be sorely missed.
His list of service to work and life includes:
1992 to 1996 Chief Executive Warwickshire College Further Education Corporation
1996 to 2002 Consultant Director of Breeding British Equestrian Federation
2005 to 2007 Director of Equine Development and Breeding British Equestrian Federation and
Chairman of the National Equine Database
Professor Suggett OBE was also JP, DL, Hon DSc, MPhil, MEd, BSc, NDA, PGCE,
CIEWS, CBiol, FSB, FRAgS, FRSA, PHSF, WCTF, FNEF (1936-2023)
His interests included:
Scouting - lifelong involvement – Kings Scout 1952 to District Commissioner for East Yorkshire and
Warwick Rotary 40 plus years
British Association for Shooting and Conservation
Shepherds Crook Making, National Champion 1985
Sailing – offshore skipper
Officer of the British Empire - 1993
Paul Harris Fellow Rotary International - 1995
Deputy Lieutenant of Warwickshire - 1996
Justice of the Peace – 1987 - ten years on the bench
Winston Churchill Fellow – 1971
Honorary Professor of Bejing University - 1994
Degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa Coventry University – 1997
Honorary Vice President of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) – 1998
Blood donor 100 pints