THE Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) has appointed a new chief executive.

Alicia Chivers will take over from Paul Burrows in November,

A qualified chartered accountant from a farming family she is currently chief executive of the RAF Central Fund, a charity which provides support to those serving in the RAF. She has 15 years experience of senior charitable management experience and is looking forward to her new role.

She said: "Farming faces some major challenges over the next couple of years but RABI will continue to stand alongside the community, providing invaluable support to families suffering hardship, often through no fault of their own.

"Having grown up on and around farms, I see RABI as the charitable heart of the farming community and I am honoured to be a part of the team."

RABI provides grants of around £2m a year to people of all ages from the farming sector in financial need. Funding comes from public donations and money raised by county committees and community groups, businesses and fundraising staff, as well as legacies and investment income.

Mr Burrows has been chief executive for 12 years. Having spent much of his time at the charity's Oxfordshire base he is looking forward to returning home to Devon and supporting Plymouth Argyle Football Club.

He said: "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with RABI and would thank everyone associated with the charity for the wonderful support and commitment to the cause. There are many uncertainties in farming at the moment, largely due to Brexit but there are still exciting opportunities too."

Malcolm Thomas, RABI chairman, said: "Paul's dedication over many years has been immense and I would personally like to thank him for everything he has done to move our organisation forwards.

"I am confident that Alicia will bring fresh new ideas to RABI to build on the foundations that are already in place. It could be a difficult winter for many in farming, but rest assured, RABI is here to help."