Suffolk Show 2013: Middleditch family makes it four in a row in sheep contest

Denise Middleditch with her family's champion Hampshire Down ram lamb

Denise Middleditch with her family's champion Hampshire Down ram lamb - Credit: Archant

The Middleditch family from Belchamp St Paul, near Sudbury, retained the Hampshire Down breed championship for a fourth year on day one of the Suffolk Show today.

With Harry Middleditch tied up with university exams until the end of the week, it fell to his mother, Denise, to lead the family effort at the show, supported by husband David.

This year’s champion was a home-bred ram lamb, with a home-bred ewe from the same flock taking the reserve spot and the family also won five out of the six classes for Hampshire Downs. “I’m just thrilled,” said Mrs Middleditch.

Judge Peter Derryman, from Honiton in Devon, said of the champion: “It is an extremely well grown ram lamb, a good modern type of Hampshire with all of the right brand attributes – conformity in scale.”

The Suffolk breed championship was won by MJ and JA Pinny from Holcot, near Northampton, with an untrimmbed ewe lamb, while reserve, for both the overall and the female championship, was a trimmed ewe lamb owned by Gordon Beddie, from Swaffham.

The same exhibitors claimed the male championship and reserve honours, with a trimmed ram lamb and an untrimmed ram lamb respectively.

Judge William Tait, from Lislap in Northern Ireland, said of the champion: “she is very correct and very, very stylish – just a wee bit special.”

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The Texel breed title went to a shearling ewe owned by D & J Chambers from Newton Bromswold in Northamptonshire, who also took reserve with another shearling ewe which was placed second in the same class as the eventual champion.

The judge with the toughest job, at least in terms of numbers, was Jim Cresswell, from Wattisfield, near Diss, who was invited to adjudicate on the Southdown classes, which were doubling as the breed’s national show.

With entries in some classes running well into double figures, judging started 30 minutes before the Suffolks, Hampshire Downs and Texels and continued well after they had finished.

Mr Cresswell chose as his champion a three-shear ram owned by Sophie Arlott from Lenton, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, with a ewe owned by Messrs Wakeham-Dawson and Harmer, from Offham, near Lewes in East Sussex, taking reserve.