Wayland Show’s young achiever award

Wayland Agricultural Show's sheep section just goes from strength to strength.

The show, which is held at Watton on Sunday, August 7, was started 138 years ago.

Head sheep stewards, Gail Sprake and Tricia Newman, have seen numbers increase steadily.

Mrs Sprake, who runs a pedigree flock of Southdowns at South Elmham All Saints, near Halesworth, has been involved with the show for 20 years. She started exhibiting and then became the secretary to the sheep section.

In the Waveney Valley, she and her husband, Michael, have about 600 acres of cereals, sugar beet and oilseed rape and about 50 breeding ewes. She also looks after her daughter's herd of Irish Moiled cattle, which are category 3 on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust's List.

Mrs Sprake is also the part-time secretary to the Southdown Sheep Society and has been involved with RBST for number of years.

And with the increasing interest in rare, unusual and new commercial breeds, the Wayland Show has been able to accommodate many new entrants. With more 60 pure breeds, as well as numerous crossbreeds and half breeds, it ensures much variety in the sheep lines.

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Sheep entries have increased year on year. In 2010, there were more than 300 sheep entered in classes.

The Wayland Show sheep section has worked closely with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and in 2010 the classes reflected the success of the RBST by including classes for rare and traditional native breeds.

Some breeds seen at the show, which were once listed as 'rare' on the RBST Watch List have become more numerous and so described as traditional or native instead.

The Wayland Show is keen to promote the country's rich agricultural heritage. This August, there will be a range of cattle, sheep and pigs.

And in the sheep lines, it will include the small, primitive and rare such as the Boreray, Castlemilk Moorit and Manx Loaghtan, to traditional downland breeds as the Suffolk, Hampshire Down and Southdown, and continental breeds such as the Texel and Beltex.

n An award to recognise young achievers will be made by Wayland Agricultural Society.

It is open to anyone aged under 21 years and aims to highlight outstanding dedication and contribution to agriculture, horticulture, wildlife or any other rural related sector or industry.

Entrants for the 2011 Young Achiever of the Year will be required to demonstrate and share their commitment and show passion and enthusiasm as well as a sound knowledge of their category.

Nominations in writing to Wayland Agricultural Society, Broom Hall, Richmond Road, Saham Toney, Thetford, Norfolk IP25 7HJ.