Suffolk breeder signs off on high note

STEPHEN Cobbald signed off with another championship as he brought more than half a century of showing Suffolk sheep to a close at the Tendring Hundred Show on Saturday.

STEPHEN Cobbald signed off with another championship as he brought more than half a century of showing Suffolk sheep to a close at the Tendring Hundred Show on Saturday.

Mr Cobbald, from Acton, near Sudbury, has agreed the sale of his highly successful Melford flock of Suffolks - to be dispersed among a number of different buyers - and to seek a new challenge with the Texel breed.

He already has 18 Texel ewes and he plans to expand the flock - which will have the Lavenham prefix - to around 40 ewes once the Suffolks have moved on to their new owners.

“I have been doing this for a lot of years and felt I wanted a new challenge,” said Mr Cobbald. “I have been president and chairman of the Suffolk breed society and I did not think there was much left for me to do.”


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Mr Cobbald first showed Suffolk sheep 51 years ago when he assisted John Jiggens with his Manningtree flock at the Suffolk Show. He bought 10 ewes of his own the following year, with a loan from his father.

Although Mr Cobbald dispersed his original flock 14 years ago he quickly decided he had made a mistake and, within 18 months, was back in Suffolks.

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“My mistake then was that I had nothing to replace them with,” he said. “This time I have the Texels, and I also have a commercial flock of Scotch half-breds - probably the only flock of Scotch half-breds in East Anglia.”

Mr Cobbald's final championship with Suffolks on Saturday - when he was assisted as usual by his daughter Charlotte - came with a trimmed ewe lamb, and he also achieved first places with an untrimmed ewe lamb and a trimmed ram lamb.

There was some strong competition from the Partridge family, from Kersey, near Hadleigh, who won the shearling ram class with a home-bred entry and also took reserve spot in the female championship with a shearling ewe.

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