Worlington: Shepherd pays world record price for his “best-friend”

“IT’S not a lot of money for your best friend, is it?”

This is how shepherd Eddie Thornalley, from Worlington, described his latest sheepdog purchase, which set a new world record for the price paid for a working sheepdog at an official sale.

The 45-year-old spent �8,400 on a female border collie called Midge, who is 18 months old, at an auction in Yorkshire last week.

It may be the most he has ever paid for a sheepdog, but he is more than happy with his purchase.

Mr Thornalley, who is a member of the East Anglian Sheepdog Society, said: “She’s the friendliest little darling you could ever hope to meet.

“She’s just a gorgeous little thing and on top of that her natural ability with sheep is phenomenal. She’s extremely well bred.”

The father-of-two, who has been a shepherd on and off for about 29 years, does shepherding on a contract basis across East Anglia and also has his own flock of about 200 sheep. He now has five sheepdogs.

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He said shepherds had an “incredibly close” relationship with these working dogs.

“It’s a working partnership and it’s just built totally on friendship and trust. They really are your total best friend.”

He added: “You spend more time with this dog than any human being really. You are just with each other constantly.

“The bond and the relationship you have with them is absolutely phenomenal and it’s extremely rewarding.”