Both the champion and reserve champion prime cattle, along with
the championship-winning prime lambs, were knocked down to the
same buyer at the annual Christmas shows and sales at Skipton Auction
Mart. (Mon, Dec 3)
Keith Downs is pictured, centre, with his Skipton 2007 Christmas
prime beef champion, joined by judge, Hebden Bridge butcher Stephen
Maskill, and Michael McKenzie, vice-chairman of Skipton Auction
Keelham Hall Farm Shop at Thornton, near Bradford, embarked on
the champions’ buying spree, first paying £2,003 – 340p
per kilo and top price of the day by far – for the 590kg
supreme champion Limousin-cross heifer from Keith Downs, of Milner
Mr Downs was repeating his 2006 Skipton Christmas prime cattle
championship success, when his Limousin-cross victor was also a
Keelham Hall Farm Shop purchase.
This year, Mr Downs also presented the prime cattle reserve champion,
a 540kg Limousin bullock and another Keelham Hall acquisition at £1,404
For good measure, Keelham Hall then went on to secure a rare across-the-card
double when their Skipton buyer Nick Dalby secured the five-strong
supreme champion pen of 42-kilo Beltex-cross prime lambs, exhibited
by local vendor John Garnett, of Lane End Farm, Draughton, for £150
a head – again top price of the day.
Keelham Hall Farm Shop is run by brother and sister James and Victoria
Robertshaw, who have often bought past Skipton champions and source
all their prime lambs through the mart. In fact, they landed a
champions day coup when also purchasing both the Christmas beef
show victor and runner-up at Otley the same day.
Victoria Robertshaw explained: “Our whole ethos is to source
only the very best animals from local markets in support of local
producers. In this way, we can ensure total quality and full traceability,
which is increasingly important when catering for our ever-expanding
“They demand the best – and we are happy to meet this
requirement by going all the way and buying show champions. Our
latest acquisitions will now be prepared in readiness for our customers’ 2007
Keith Down’s title-winner received the Alf Lister Trophy,
along with a special award from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society
for the top-priced per kilo Yorkshire-bred and exhibited animal.
A second YOS award recipient was Skipton regular Brian Lund, of
Walshaw, Hebden Bridge.
There were other notable performances in both the cattle and sheep
classes, where quality stock was once again in considerable demand
as butcher buyers or their ringside representatives sourced the
region’s prime beef and lamb for festive season consumption.
Best of the Continental cattle in the culled cows section was a
700-kilo Belgian Blue from Ken Gamble, of Thorpe, sold locally
for £693 (99p/kilo) to John Thompson, of Gargrave. The top-priced
black and white cow from John Whittaker, of Laneshawbridge, made
68p per kilo when claimed by Wakefield-based Kepak.
In the sheep classes, the reserve champions – best of the
hill and horned sheep entries – were a pen of five 53-kilo
Masham Wether lambs shown by Nidderdale exhibitor David Verity,
of W & R Verity & Sons, of Grange Farm, Bouthwaite, Ramsgill.
They sold at £90 apiece to show judge James Dewhirst, of
Skipton-based Stanforths Butchers.
The Masham classes were sponsored to the tune of £200 by
Skipton regular Les Thackray, of Mickley, Ripon, with both vendors
and purchasers benefiting from his generosity.
Best of the Texels for the second year in succession was a pen
of five 46-kilo lambs from Richard and Patsy Hodgson, of Scale
Hill Farm, Skipton, sold for £58 a head. Another Skipton
exhibitor, Geoff Lawn, saw his first prize 51-kilo Suffolks go
on to sell for £41 each.
The mules class was sponsored by the Skipton branch of the North
of England Mule Sheep Association, with chairman Ashley Caton presenting
the trophy to Eileen Addyman, of Hagg Farm, Skipton, on behalf
of husband John. Their 53-kilo charges sold for £37.50 per
Roy Nelson, of Bordley, exhibited the top Swaledales, a 51-kilo
pen that made £42 each, while David Verity also chipped in
with the best Dalesbreds, a 38-kilo pen sold for £29 each.
Of the other hill breeds, Helmsley-based D Farrington’s 44-kilo
first prize Cheviots went for £35 apiece. In the ewe classes,
Roy Nelson’s first prize Swaledales sold for £24, the
same prize achieved by Michael McKenzie, of Arncliffe, with his
prize-winning mules. Anthony Thompson, of Foulridge, saw his pen
of Suffolk ewes head the Continentals class at £41.50 a head.
Other show sponsors were the Kingsway Veterinary Group, Farmway,
F Reeday & Son Trailer Services, and Fearing Tags.
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