Cute three-year-old shepherdess goes from viral video sensation to online show champion

PUBLISHED: 07:39 03 May 2020 | UPDATED: 07:45 03 May 2020

Three-year-old Barley Brook Sellar, from Wood Norton near Fakenham, and her sheep Ethel have become viral video stars after filming their entry for The Greatest Online Agricultural Show. Picture: Caitlin Jenkins

Three-year-old Barley Brook Sellar, from Wood Norton near Fakenham, and her sheep Ethel have become viral video stars after filming their entry for The Greatest Online Agricultural Show. Picture: Caitlin Jenkins

Caitlin Jenkins

A cute three-year-old shepherdess who charmed more than a million people to become Norfolk’s newest viral internet star has been crowned a champion at an online show.

Barley Brook Sellar, from Wood Norton near Fakenham, was among the Norfolk competitors and exhibitors at The Greatest Online Agricultural Show on Saturday.

Her entry video for the young handlers’ competition, in which she answers questions from her mother and gleefully parades her Border Leicester sheep Ethel around a farm field, was tweeted by competition judge and Cumbrian farmer James Rebanks, who described it as “the cutest thing I have ever seen”.

More than 1.8m people had watched the clip by the time the show closed on Saturday evening, and Barley was duly crowned champion in the “under-8” class.

Her proud mother Caitlin Jenkins was “a bit overwhelmed” by her daughter’s newfound stardom – but delighted she had been given a platform to build her livestock skills after the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancellation of rural events including the Royal Norfolk Show.

“I have been going to shows for as long as I can remember,” said Miss Jenkins. “For Barley, it is a confidence-builder and she meets people and learns from them. It is a shame it couldn’t go ahead this year, but the online show is a brilliant idea. It is just a lot of fun so everybody does not feel they are missing out.”

The Greatest Online Agricultural Show was instigated by Berkshire farmer David Hill to fill the void left by the cancellation of rural shows across the country.

It attracted 5,000 visitors and 800 entries across 200 livestock, poultry and dog classes. Visitors could also chat with suppliers on countless trade stands, make online orders from producers in the food tent, see farming “lockdown learning” videos for children in the education village or learn about the latest science and technologies from experts in the agri-tech hub and the “innovation for agriculture” area.

The event raised more than £15,000 for five farming charities, including Norfolk-based mental health charity YANA (You Are Not Alone), which described the day as a “complete triumph”, adding it was “brilliantly organised, tremendous fun, with an incredible array of stands, displays and demonstrations”.

READ MORE: Online event will help fill the void after Royal Norfolk Show cancellation

Another East Anglian livestock prize-winner was Mark Robertson, a Norfolk-based farm assessor for the RSPCA Assured scheme, whose Southdown ram lamb named Gilbert was the was champion in the Down Breeds section.

He said he was “absolutely over the moon” to win the award, after earlier tweeting that he was “just as nervous for this show as any other”.

And among the thousands of online visitors who commended the event were Helen Reeve, who runs the Waveney Dexter Beef herd at Alburgh, near Harleston, who tweeted: “Going to agricultural shows is a tradition and one I’ll miss – catching up with friends, brilliant livestock on show, latest agricultural equipment and a cheeky stop in the beer tent or a glass of Pimms. With shows being cancelled, today is the #greatestonlineagshow.”

Many of the videos and exhibitor details exhibited at the show is still available to view at the Greatest Online Agriculture Show website.

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