North Yorkshire family bags double win at English Winter Fair

Sister and brother Beth and Luke Wilkinson from North Yorkshire took home both the championship and reserve titles during a memorable finale at the 2022 English Winter Fair.

This year’s English Winter Fair saw a number of remarkable wins across all categories, alongside a staggering increase in both entries and visitor numbers on the previous year.

Beth Wilkinson’s Maggie, a 20-month-old Limousin cross heifer, was awarded the Birmingham Post Trophy for the Supreme Champion after being crowned Baby Beef Champion at the 2021 show. With the trophy also came a £1,000 cash prize sponsored by Carter Jonas.

Beth’s brother, Luke, then received the Reserve Champion title for his British Blue cross heifer, Prime Suspect, hand-picked by judges Phil Parrott and Tecwyn Jones, as well as a £500 cash prize from Agrii.

In the sheep ring, serial show winners Robert Garth and Sarah Priestley from Lancashire also landed a double win, with their Beltex animals claiming both the champion and reserve titles.

The National Pedigree Calf Show saw Scottish cattle breeder K Watret’s Solway View Ria, a 12-months-old British Blue, crowned as champion and winning the £1,000 cash prize from Tithebarn. Meanwhile, the Reserve Champion was Aberdeen Angus Morpheus Rosie, owned by Cheshire-based O Tunney, who also took home £500.

In the pig ring, debutants Tom Dyas and Callum Smith from W Berry in Doncaster beat show veteran Mark Horsley to the best pen prize with a pair of Pietrains. With a history of success in the carcass hall, it was the first time the two exhibited live animals.

There was a significant increase in the number of carcass entries at this year’s show, up by 30% on 2021. The quality of lamb, pig and cattle carcasses in the chiller was also remarkably high, making it difficult for judge Dave Morland to make selections.

Mr Morland, who is the head butcher at Tebay Services, shared some insights about the selection process: “It was hard to separate some of the entries as the standard was very high.

“As a butcher I’m always thinking about the end market for the product and that’s what farmers should be striving for so I was looking for carcasses which would produce cuts that appeal to the consumer.”

After a tough morning’s work, he awarded the champion cattle carcass prize to TG and EM Hart from Monmouth for producing an impressive Hereford with a deadweight of 364kg classified as a R4H.

In the lamb category, Northamptonshire-based DS and LE Wadland took home the winning prize with a 37.3kg Beltex, while ROA Johnson and E Hewitt from Derbyshire won the pork carcass prize with their 85kg Pietrain cross.

Best saddle of lamb and rib of beef prizes were also awarded by the Royal Smithfield Club to a Beltex saddle by M and C Morris and Perry’s of Eccleshall’s Limousin cross, respectively. Meanwhile, the Club awarded its Duke of Norfolk trophy to a trio of British Blues, with the Herefords in reserve.

Lastly, The Rare Breeds Survival Trust has once again held the final of its Young Shepherd of the Year competition at the show. This year, it was 11-year-old Logan Tyson who claimed the champion title, with 13-year-old Zara Clough finishing as reserve.

Summing up the event, Richard Williams, chief executive of the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society, which organises the show, said: “This year’s event was a tremendous success, evidenced by the quality and increased number of entries across the board.

“We welcomed thousands of visitors across the weekend – even more than we saw in 2021 – and they experienced a diverse range of competitions, culminating in the crowning of the Supreme Champion.

“The fair remains a hugely popular event attracting exhibitors and visitors from across the UK.”

The full results can be viewed on the SBAS website.

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