Five Minutes With... Hickstead Director Daisy Bunn

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As part of a new series, exclusively for our HDC members, Hickstead Director Daisy Bunn is going to catch key members of the Hickstead team for mini 5 minute interviews, to give our members a unique, behind-the-scenes take on everything Hickstead. Who better to start with than Daisy herself (trust us, it was a pretty funny interview with her talking to herself!)

1. What is your role at Hickstead?

Having started at the dizzyingly glamorous heights of litter picker and pole painter, I am now one of six Directors, having arrived via the jobs of back-office-bird, showjumping secretary and sponsorship manager along the way! Safe to say I, and most of the family, have done most jobs on the showground at one time or another!

2. What is the best / funniest bit about that role?

It's an incredible privilege to have been left at the helm with my siblings, of a national institution like Hickstead. The huge variety of people that I get to work with is definitely one of the funniest bits about my job, as so many of them are, well, so funny! The Hickstead staff are more like family, and excel themselves by regularly doing hilarious (and normally embarrassing) things to fill the place with laughter! The best bit must surely be being able to get up close and personal to, and behind-the-scenes of the world class sport happening in our back garden! It's quite a thrilling experience to be on the front line often witnessing history in the making.

3. What is the worst bit about the role?

As with any job, and particularly with such an enormous event, the sheer level of logistical admin can sometimes be overwhelming, but really that's the only bit that isn't fun! There is obviously an enormous amount of responsibility that comes with the role, not least ensuring Hickstead's financial stability as it is so expensive to run and maintain, and you can never please everyone all of the time, which can sometimes be quite hard. These are all happy problems to have though, and ones I wouldn't swap for anything! Hickstead is in our blood, and almost like an additional family member!

4. What is your best Hickstead memory?

Hickstead has played such a central role, and often backdrop, to the very best and the very worst of times so it's a really hard question! Buddy Bunn winning the Derby was very special, particularly to see the pure joy it gave Dad, and I will never forget how moving the minute's memorial silence for Dad was, when the whole showground literally came to a halt, having not been asked to but as a sign of respect, and we had thought it was going to be a small moment just involving the main ring. The (disastrous) first ever time I qualified for the main ring also sticks in my head as a real high moment... I thought I was Liz Edgar... but did in fact get eliminated!

5. What would you do if you didn't work at Hickstead?

I balance my role at Hickstead with running my own photography company, Honeybunn Photography, so it would probably be more travelling with that... and hanging out with my adored miniature dachshund Mowgli.

6. What are you doing now, 2 months out from the first show?

People are often surprised to hear what a large permanent staff we have, but there is a lead time of twelve months for every season, and as we wave the last horsebox out of the stablefield and put one year to bed, we are literally beginning to plan the next! With only 2 months to go until our first show, the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting, things are pretty busy!

 

Due to the seasonal nature of the job, and the fact that most of our sponsors and exhibitors spend the whole summer on the road, going from show to show, it means a lot of the pre show logistical arrangments can't physically be done until this time of year! Currently I am finalising VIP invitation lists, and the sponsorship department is a hive of activity making sure all of the contracts are meticulously checked and every form of brand exposure promised is fulfilled. With your average sponsor having everything from branded flags, rugs, boards, rosettes, digital adverts, company-coloured flowers, fences, the list goes on... you have to be very organised to make sure nothing gets missed!