2015-04-27    facebooktwitterrss

Wensleydale Sheep Breeders Honour Leading Performers

The Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders’ Association’s annual meeting and awards presentation at the Tempest Arms, Elslack, near Skipton attracted one of the best turnouts in recent years.

The William Rhodes Perpetual Trophy for the most successful exhibitor of the year was won for the first time by one of the association’s mainstays, Mark Elliott, of Providence Farm, Ferrensby, near Knaresborough.

Pictured after The Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders’ Association’s annual trophy presentation are, standing from left, guest speaker Dr Agnes Winter, Sandra Brown, Mark Elliott, Charlotte Pedley, Sue Holdich, Tracy Ranger, chairman Dr Graham Steventon and president Jim Thompson. Kneeling are Laura Beaton, left, and Charlie Clements.

Pictured after The Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders’ Association’s annual trophy presentation are, standing from left, guest speaker Dr Agnes Winter, Sandra Brown, Mark Elliott, Charlotte Pedley, Sue Holdich, Tracy Ranger, chairman Dr Graham Steventon and president Jim Thompson. Kneeling are Laura Beaton, left, and Charlie Clements.

Mark runs the Providence flock in partnership with his mother, Judy, and it continues to trade as JA&F Elliott since being established in 1946 by Mark’s late father John Elliott and his sister Freda. Today, the flock comprises 24 pedigree ewes and followers.

It amassed the most points at the eight breed shows staged countrywide throughout the year, including the Great Yorkshire and Royal Norfolk. The Elliotts performed well at all the seasonal highlights, notably with their standout performer, the Providence stock ram, Widehope Ivanhoe, who was a multiple male champion and remained unbeaten in his class all season.

Bred in Bishop Auckland by Barbara Metcalfe, Ivanhoe is being used for the fourth time this year on the Providence flock.

William Rhodes competition rosettes were also presented by association president Jim Thompson, of Deytheur, Llansantffraid, Powys, as follows: 2nd - Andrew Fisher, Low Laithe, Harrogate (Pateley flock), 3rd - John and Shelagh Prescott, Longhorsley, Morpeth (West End flock), 4th - Tracy Ranger, Orford, Suffolk (Gedgrave flock), 5th - Serena Plenderleith, Beccles, Suffolk (Ilketshall flock), 6th and also best newcomer – Sandra Brown, Ashford, Kent (The Dean flock).

A trophy for the most outstanding achievement by a young person with Wensleydale sheep was awarded to 13-year-old Laura Beaton. She first fell in love with the breed after seeing a picture of Wensleydale sheep on a poster in Ainsty Farm Shop, run by her parents Stuart and Lily Beaton in Green Hammerton, near York.

Laura, who attends King James School in Knaresborough, established her Hammerton pedigree flock in 2013 and performed notably well with a multiple prize-winning gimmer lamb during her first full season on the local show circuit. The flock now comprises her two original ewes, which have five lambs between them this year, and a ram.

A special rosette was also awarded to Charlie Clements, of Kingswood, Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire, who is the 13-year-old granddaughter of John and Ann Griffiths, who run the well-known Southend Wensleydale flock.

Charlie has showed her grandparents’ sheep on many occasions, performing with great credit in both flock and young handlers’ competitions. She established her own Alma Lodge flock last year, currently has a ram and two ewes – and high hopes of making her own mark on the show circuit.

Special rosettes for their showing successes were also awarded to Dan and Jake Greenwood, the sons of Mr and Mrs Bruce Greenwood of Wolburn Hall, Downholme, Richmond, a prominent commercial farm that hosted a major NSA (Northsheep) event several years ago. They run the Walburnmoor Wensleydale flock.

One of the association’s major awards, the Ruth Pedley Memorial Trophy for the exhibitor achieving the most notable interbreed success during the past year, was presented to Sue Holdich, who runs the Millhouse pedigree flock at Bacton, near Stowmarket in Suffolk.

She was supreme sheep champion at the RBST’s annual show and sale in Melton Mowbray last September and became the first person to win this trophy on more than one occasion. It was handed over at the annual presentation by Charlotte Pedley, granddaughter of Frank and the late Ruth Pedley. Charlotte is a physiotherapist who lives in Tingley, near Wakefield.

Mrs Holdich secured leading honours at Melton Mowbray with a shearling ram home-bred by an Ilketshall tup. He was sold to Lancashire breeder RW Gregson, of Tarleton, near Preston.

Mrs Holdich has been breeding both White and Black Wensleydales for 32 years and has been showing for all but four of them. She also exports Black Wensleydales to Germany, Holland and France. Her flock currently comprises 35 ewes and six rams.

Following the conclusion of business, Dr Agnes Winter, past association president, author and past winner of the NSA’s George Hedley Memorial Award for the most outstanding contribution to the British sheep industry, gave a talk on the genetics of the Wensleydale sheep.

At the earlier executive council meeting, two of the association’s stalwarts from North Yorkshire, Lt Col Frank Pedley, of Richmond, and Alan Duffield, of Husthwaite, were conferred as honorary life vice-presidents. Frank, a past president, has given long service on the association’s council with over a decade in the post of honorary secretary and registration officer, while Alan has been a council member for 30 years.

Wensleydale sheep

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