Arthursdale Boy, Nidderdale Girl

Former soldier, Frank Pedley, a stalwart of the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders’ Association, with long-standing links across Yorkshire, has had, at the age of 81, his first book published: “Arthursdale Boy – Nidderdale Girl”, the memoirs of Francis Hamish Pedley.

It chronicles his remarkable journey in life, from his birth in 1934 in the hamlet of Arthursdale, alongside the old Leeds–Wetherby railway, his absentee father, the influence of his Victorian grandparents (his grandfather was born in Haworth), his education at Tadcaster Grammar School, where he met his beloved late wife, Ruth, and his military service, in which he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Memories and memoirs – Frank Pedley with a picture of his late wife Ruth, taken by him on their honeymoon

Memories and memoirs – Frank Pedley with a picture of his late wife Ruth, taken by him on their honeymoon

The couple, especially Ruth, became passionate and renowned breeders of the rare Wensleydale Longwool sheep, winning countless trophies over the years, while their services as judges at leading shows were in constant demand.

Frank is a former secretary and president of the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders’ Association and donated the Ruth Pedley Memorial Trophy following his wife’s sudden death in 2007, a few days after judging at the Great Yorkshire Show.

It is awarded annually by the Council of the Association to the member with the most outstanding achievement in the show ring in interbreed championships across the United Kingdom. The 2015 winner is Ernest Sherwin, of Nosterfield, Bedale, for his outstanding achievement at the Great Yorkshire Show – winning the Reserve Supreme Champion award. The trophy will be presented at the association’s annual general meeting on April 23, 2016.

Frank, now living in Richmond, North Yorkshire, constructed his poignant and nostalgic memoirs from the diaries he and Ruth kept over the years, as well as from letters, family emails and other unique documents.

He notes in the foreword:
“It is a love story with a tragic end. Readers will discover in my wife Ruth a most outstanding lady who gave me almost half a century of blissful marriage and three healthy, strong and talented sons. It is also a tribute to my grandparents, who gave me love, protection and opportunity as a young boy.”

Peter Titley, a former chairman and president of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, said after reading the book:
“My life over the past 40 years has been hugely enriched by the many contacts forged through that pioneering organisation and none moreso than with the Pedleys.

“Anyone who reads this book will find a captivating tale of two lives entirely entwined and yet so profoundly individual. This book is rare in its openness. This makes its special. Anyone with links to the military life will identify with the special role which ‘military wives’ play in that setting. Anyone who understands the compelling obsessions of livestock keeping will recognise the demands and the satisfactions which abound in that world.”

“Arthursdale Boy – Nidderdale Girl was published by the Book Guild on November 26. It already has three Amazon assessments – all 5 star.

Jennifer Mackenzie

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