Zoe receives OBE at Buckingham Palace
7th Nov 2023 / By Alistair Driver
Former NPA chief executive Zoe Leach has received her well-deserved OBE at Buckingham Palace.
Zoe (better known to many in the pig industry by her maiden name of Davies), was granted the honour in recognition of her services to the pig industry.
She worked tirelessly for the NPA for 14 years, after joining as regions manager in 2008, and became its first chief executive in 2014, a role she held until she joined the NFU as its Eastern regional director last summer.
Zoe received her OBE from Princess Anne at an investiture ceremony at the palace, with her mum, husband, Adam, and son, Alex, in attendance.
“It was a lovely day, if a little bit surreal from start to finish! Everybody, from the police on the gate to the household staff and all the people who handled the investiture just made you feel completely at ease," she said.
“And Princess Anne was so easy to chat to. We talked about the challenges of keeping pigs in the woods and the brilliance of sausages, all within the space of about 60 seconds!”
Zoe said she was ‘blown away’ to have been nominated for the OBE in the first King’s Honours List. “I was just doing a job I loved for people I cared about, so I didn’t really understand why I deserved it," she said.
"As someone I respect very much said to me, I guess it reflects all the hours spent supporting members through one crisis or another and the time, all the time and effort lobbying Government on things that really benefit the industry and in getting Ministers to support the pig sector, for example during the crisis, including agreeing to a review of the pig supply chain.
“Obviously, I am very honoured, and it was a fantastic day.”
Commenting when Zoe received the nomination, NPA chief executive Lizzie Wilson said: “We are all absolutely thrilled with this news. Not only has she won countless battles on behalf of the entire industry at Government and supply chain level, but she has formed a unique bond with members, often going above and beyond in supporting them on an individual level.”
Zoe won the much-coveted 2020 Chris Brant Award (CBA) in recognition of her ‘massive contribution’ to the British pig industry, and the prestigious David Black Award in 2022.
She was awarded a Fellowship of the NPA when she left the association last summer.