‘Nigh perfect’ day at Tendring Show’s cattle and sheep contests

Rita Parker, granddaughter Jade Lanham, and Limousin cross Holly, which took the supreme beast title

Rita Parker, granddaughter Jade Lanham, and Limousin cross Holly, which took the supreme beast title in the beef cattle contest at the Tendring Show - Credit: Archant

The owner of a Limousin cross crowned supreme champion beef animal at this year’s Tendring Show said she was “over the moon” at the accolade.

Tom Stocking of Bury St Edmunds with the supreme champion in the Suffolk Sheep contest at the Tendri

Tom Stocking of Bury St Edmunds with the supreme champion in the Suffolk Sheep contest at the Tendring Show. - Credit: Archant

Rita Parker, of North Burlingham, near Norwich, said she had bought the heifer, called Holly, over the internet from Scotland.

“I was most surprised. She’s 18 months old now, and we had her from a calf,” she said.

“We saw the pictures, and I said to my husband: ‘I would like that heifer.’”

Rita, who was showing with grand-daughter, Jade Lanham, 23, keeps more than 70 cattle on the family’s mixed cattle and arable farm, and has been doing so for about the last 14 or 15 years.

Judge Peter Rycraft and owner Amy Readhead-Higgins of Leiston with her winning Southdown sheep.

Judge Peter Rycraft and owner Amy Readhead-Higgins of Leiston with her winning Southdown sheep. - Credit: Archant


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“I shall keep her and put her in calf,” she said.

Judge Richard Davies, who travelled from Towcester in Northamptonshire for the event, said: “When it came out in that very big class this morning I thought if I find a better one than this today, it’ll be a good one. It’s just full of meat,” he said.

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“It was near enough perfect for the job. It was what we call ‘12 o’clock’. You can’t get any better.”

He praised the quality of the entries and said they had been of a “good standard”. The reserve champion, also a heifer, owned by G and H Blythe, was “just that little bit small” but felt it would win other shows as it developed.

A Bury St Edmunds sheep farmer was celebrating as his untrimmed ram lamb scooped the best entry Challenge Cup award in the Suffolk Sheep class.

It battled it out in what was a tough contest in the Suffolk Sheep competition, bringing in the prized rosette to Tom Stocking for the second year in a row.

Tom, who keeps pedigree Suffolk Sheep and has 18 ewes in his 50-strong flock and some commercial crosses, said it was “brilliant”.

“It’s amazing. I can’t believe it really. This is our second year of showing,” said the farmer, who also runs the Suffolk Chicken Company with partner, Katie.

Judge Brian Sutton of Warwickshire said he had been looking at “real good sheep right down the lines” but the winning animal stood out.

“He’s got great breed character. He’s balanced, he’s well fleshed throughout,” he said. “The longer he was out there, the more happy I became with the decision, for his correctness and his balance.”

Over in the Southdown Sheep pens, top honours went to Amy Readhead-Higgins from Leiston, who was showing for about the third or fourth year, coming in reserve place last year.

“I’m thrilled, absolutely thrilled,” she said as her Southdown shearling ram, Roly, took the championship rosette for best Southdown Sheep at the show.

It’s been a triumphant year for Roly, who was also named champion at the Rutland and Newark shows.

“He’s a ram that I brought in from Wakeham, Dawson and Harmer to put on my ewes. I have been thrilled I chose him,” she said. “He’ll go to work in a month’s time.”

Amy, who keeps 30 ewes and about 60 sheep in total, said she was trying to breed the perfect Southdown, but wanted to keep her flock quite small.

Judge Peter Rycraft, from Surrey, said the entries this year were “very, very good” for this breed.

“This is one of the sheep breeds that’s coming up fast, because the meat tastes delicious. The standard was very good,” he said.

The winner stood out because of his “lovely, level back, good on his legs.”

“He’s nigh perfect and it’s not very often you get that,” he said.

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