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National Young Show Stars Challenge showcase next generation

The inaugural National Young Show Stars event took place last week at The Three Counties Agricultural Society, welcoming youngsters from across the country to take part. FG takes a look at the highlights.


The National Young Show Stars welcomed more than 100 young farming enthusiasts between the ages of eight and 24 to showcase their skills in marketing and presentation, livestock preparation, handling, auctioneering, butchering and their general knowledge of the industry.


The event, which was supported by The Three Counties Agricultural Society and Farmers Guardian, took place on April 1 and 2 at the


Three Counties Showground, Malvern. It hosted trade stands, universities and colleges, while teams and individuals entered from the UK and overseas from Canada.


The beef competition attracted 20 teams which were judged for their clipping and presentation techniques by Stockport-based Nairn Wyllie, stockman for Messrs Boden and Davies’ Charolais and Limousin herds, and Robert Clarke, stock manager for Shadwell Estate’s Aberdeen-Angus herd, Suffolk. Herfordshire-based Bridget Borlase of Sacombe Simmental herd fame judged the ring craft section.


Having been among the frontrunners throughout the course of judging, the British Blue Cattle Society team, the ‘Blue Bandits’, triumphed on the day.


Members were Millie Hendy, Stephanie Dick and Issy Hartley, and the trio will now head to Canada to compete at the Royal Winter Fair, Toronto, in November, as part of the prize.


All three members regularly show cattle at regional and national shows, with 18-year-old Issy Hartley, Nelson, Lancashire, being the youngest member of the team. She was reserve young handler at Great Yorkshire Show 2013 and helps with the family’s 50-head Pendle herd of British Blues.


Joining her was 20-year-old Stephanie Dick from Stirling, Scotland, who has three Aberdeen-Angus, eight Limousins and three British Blues under her own Stephick prefix and regularly helps with her family’s Ronick Limousin herd.


Runner-up in the beef competition was the Canadian team, made up of Jack Oates, Hailie Conley and Courtney Walker, with cattle being loaned by Paul and Kirsty Westaway of Melview Farming.


Emerging top in the dairy section was the Jersey Girls team of Sarah Howie, Andrea Vale and Zoe Clear.


Surrey-based Zoe, 15, started showing at seven years old and clipping at the age of eight and alongside her schoolwork, she helps on the farm. Showing cattle under the Pierrepont, Discovery and Stonebridge prefixes, she has won showmanship championships at Surrey County, New Forest, Bucks County and Edenbridge and Oxted shows.


Teammate Sarah, 17, from Uxbridge, Greater London, is studying a level-three extended diploma in agriculture at Reaseheath College and enjoys showing her family’s Jerseys at national and local shows, including UK Dairy Expo and the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show.


Sarah’s highlights include winning her class at the All Breeds All Britain twice, finishing honourable mention on one occasion, as well as winning reserve inter-breed handler at Edenbridge and Oxted Show.


Beccles-based Andrea Vale, 23, studied agriculture at Harper Adams before heading home to work on her family farm. She is a keen young breeder, taking part in many Holstein and Jersey young breeder competitions. In 2014, she won champion British Friesian showman at the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show.


Dairy judges Glyn Lucas and Ross Murray praised the competitors for their skill and enthusiasm.


Winning beef team

The winning beef team, The Blue Bandits

Winning dairy team

The wining dairy team, The Jersey Girls

winning sheep team

The winning sheep team, Heads Up


Runner-up in the dairy section was the Holstein team from Askham Bryan College, which consisted of Rosie Howarth, Helen Craggs and Ellie Chew, who showed Holstein calves from the college.


Competition was strong in the pig lines, with scores changing throughout the course of the various judging criteria, but coming out on top form was the ‘Spotty Trotters’ team from the Gloucester Old Spots, which consisted of Sarah Whiteley and Ella Kirtley, both from Harrogate, and Oliver Lightfoot, Hartpury, Gloucestershire.


Sarah, 18, works at home on the family farm where 20 Jerseys are milked for their ice-cream business. They run 150 commercial breeding ewes and 20 pedigree Gloucester Old Spot sows.


Since 2008, she has helped her family show pigs at county and local shows, with highlights including winning reserve supreme pig champion at East of England and northern area champion at the Great Yorkshire Show last year. Ella, 12, is still at school and in her spare time helps the Whitley family show.


Oliver, 16, is a keen young farmer and his family run a herd of Gloucester Old Spot sows for meat production and showing.


Runners-up were the Massey Divas, consisting of Grace Bretherton, Aimee Jeeves and Emily Mulkeen, while in third place were the Three Muskateers – Tom Phillips, Alice Oliver and Catherine Nicholas.


Clive Roads of McCartneys Auctioneers, Worcester, had a tough task ahead of him in the auctioneers challenge, but hitting the headlines after a thorough judging process was William Alexander of North West Auctions. William impressed Clive throughout the competition with his skill set, knowledge of the industry and his selling ability, as he captured a strong crowd at the end for the live auction.


William started with North West Auctions 20 months ago as a fieldsman and trainee auctioneer, and in January this year, he won the Dick Harrison trust award for the top first-year student in the Livestock Auctioneers Association’s livestock market operation and management course.


Coming in second was Richard Barron of Gloucestershire-based Voyce Pullin, while Jack Lilwall, Hartpury College, placed third.


The Heads Up team won the sheep challenge and consisted of Ellin Havard, Christie Joseph, both from Brecon, Powys, and Aled Groucott, Newport, Gwent.


Aled Groucott, 20, is a full-time herdsman at Trostrey Holsteins, where 180 cows are milked through a robotic milking system. He also keeps a small flock of Badger Faced Welsh Mountain and Beltex alongside the family’s flock of South Wales Mountain Sheep.


Aled has four years of trimming experience for various Beltex and Blue Texel breeders, and in 2013, he won the Wales YFC lamb trimming competition at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair. His highlights in the showring include winning the Torwen Badger Faced Welsh Mountain championship at the Royal Welsh Show 2014 and Countryside Live butchers lamb championship in 2013.


Elin Howard is the youngest member of the team at 18. She is still in sixth form at school and lives on her family’s beef and sheep farm.


She is a keen Young Farmers member and is the chairman of Wales Young Farmers youth forum. Along with her sister, she owns 50 Badger Faced Welsh Mountain sheep and enjoys showing throughout summer.


Christie Joseph, 23, works full-time on his family’s mixed farm of 60 Limousin suckler beef cows and 1,600 breeding ewes, which include pure flocks of Texel, Brecknock Hill and Badger Faced Welsh Mountain, running alongside the commercial flock of Suffolk cross Welsh.


Throughout summer, Christie shows the family’s Badger Faced Welsh Mountain and Brecknock Hill sheep at 12-15 shows including the Royal Welsh where in 2013 he won the Native Hill and Upland championship with a Badger Faced ewe. Alongside showing, he is an active young farmer, taking part in all competitions including stockjudging and lamb trimming.


The Heads Up team took the lead above the Ewe Blue Crew, which consisted of Sam Froggatt, Megan Watkins and Chris Davies, while in third place was the Hampshire Down team of Harry Middleditch, Milly Bersey and Stephen Short.

Preparing her notes!
Young stars show


There may have only been two competing in the butchers challenge, but the standard was close with just four points between the two competitors at the end of judging.


Taking top spot was 17-year old Ben Greenfield, who is based in Leicestershire and works as a farm worker on the home farm, where 1,000 Texel cross ewes are run. Ben runs an on-farm butchery operation, where he puts through 40 lambs a month for boxed lamb, farmers markets and restaurant clients.


Runner up was 22-year old local butcher Ben Morton, based near Malvern. Ben took on his own butchery business, which specialises in premium, native beef and supplies local garden centres and children’s nurseries, and he has plans to expand the business.


  • Auctioneer: 1, William Alexander (North West Auctions); 2, Richard Barron (Voyce Pullin); 3, Jack Lilwall (Hartpury College)
  • Beef: 1, Blue Bandits (Stephanie Dick, Millie Hendy, Issy Hartley); 2, Team Canada (Jack Oates, Hailie Conley, Courtney Walker); 3, Black Stars (Henry Thorpe, Angharad Davis, Ben Reynolds)
  • Pigs: 1, Spotty Trotters (Sarah Whiteley, Ella Kirtley, Oliver Lightfoot); 2, Massey Divas (Grace Bretherton, Aimee Jeeves, Emily Mulkeen-Parker); 3, Three Muskateers (Tom Phillips, Alice Oliver, Catherine Nicholas)
  • Dairy: 1, Jersey Girls (Andrea Vale, Zoe Clear, Sarah Howie); 2, Askham Bryan College (Rosie Howarth, Helen Craggs, Ellie Chew)
  • Sheep: 1, Heads Up (Aled Groucott, Elin Havard, Christie Joseph); 2, Ewe Blue Crew (Sam Froggatt, Megan Watkins, Chris Davies); 3, Hampshire Down (Harry Middleditch, Milly Bersey, Stephen Short)
  • Butchers: 1, Ben Greenfield (Texel Sheep Society); 2, Ben Morton (Ben Morton Meats)
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