Suffolk Show 2017: Fond memories of Charlotte Cobbald as her flock claims top honour in Texel classes
- Credit: Archant
It was an emotional day for Suffolk sheep farmer Stephen Cobbald who claimed the Texel breed title with a shearling ram from a flock first started by his daughter Charlotte, who died in 2014 aged 17.
Mr Cobbald, from Acton, near Sudbury, has been associated with the Suffolk breed for most of his life but offered Charlotte – who shared his interest – the opportunity to start a flock of her own, and she chose the Texel breed.
Although Mr Cobbald has now reintroduced a small flock of 20 Suffolk ewes – with which he also achieved some success yesterday – he has vowed to retain the 30-ewe Texel flock in Charlotte’s memory.
“Charlotte didn’t want always to be associated with her ‘dad’s sheep’ and when I asked her what breed she would like to keep she chose Texels,” said Mr Cobbald. “They were her flock”.
Texel judge Mike Turner, from Ashbourne in Derbyshire, said the winning shearling ram was “consistent throughout” and a good example of the breed.
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Mr Cobbald narrowly missed out on a second title, taking overall reserve for the Suffolk breed with a shearling ewe and the male championship with shearling ram.
Suffolk judge Liz Needham from Kendal in Cumbria, said that the overall champion, a trimmed ewe lamb owned by Merrick Pinny from Holcot in Northamptonshire, won out thanks to “a bit of youthful sparkle”.
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Mr Cobbald added: “I had expected to do well with a Suffolk ewe lamb but she came second - that’s showing for you.
“My father told me when I was only so high that he once met judge on a train who said that showing livestock was like being a barrister - sometimes you win when you don’t expect to and sometimes you lose when you don’t expect to.
“The advice from my father was: ‘If you win, say nothing; if you lose, say less’. On another day, with a different judge, the result might be different, but I am very pleased with the outcome today.”
The Southdown breed made the Suffolk Show its national show this year, with Jessica Middleditch from Belchamp St Paul, near Sudbury, taking both championship and reserve with a shearling ewe and a shearling ram respectively.
However, Jessica missed the big moment as she was riding in one of the equine classes on the other side of the showground, with the sheep being shown by her mother, Denise Middleditch, with the assistance of Duncan Burton.
Southdown judge Alexandra Long, from Ashford in Kent, said the champion “has really got a lot going for her” and could be expected to make “a fantastic breeding ewe”.