THE National Sheep Association (NSA) will be backing Kent shepherdess Marie Prebble as she embarks on a gruelling world record shearing attempt in a few weeks time.
Marie, an NSA Next Generation Ambassador and member of the NSA South East Region committee, will be attempting to set the first women’s eight-hour, strongwool ewe shearing world record on Thursday, August 25, at Trefranck Farm, Cornwall.
As well as being a fantastic fundraising opportunity, the record attempt is also a continuation of Marie’s work to highlight the importance of shearing and good shearing welfare – a topic she explored as part of the NSA Samuel Wharry Award for the Next Generation, that she was a first recipient of back in 2018.
The award gave Marie, and fellow bursary recipient, Charlie Beaty, from Warwickshire, the opportunity to complete a study trip to explore the application of science in sheep production.
Coming in the form of a generous £2,750 travel bursary, Marie used her award to travel to Iceland, Norway and France, where she investigated best practice at shearing time, both improving animal welfare and wool presentation.
Marie’s involvement with the award has helped her in preparation for the upcoming world record attempt.
She says: “I am grateful to NSA for its support for this event and for my involvement with the NSA Next
Generation Ambassador program-me and travel bursary.
“It is now an honour to be attempting to set the first women’s shearing record in the UK with such a huge amount of help from a very dedicated team.
“Particular thanks go to Stuart and Kira Connor for organizing the event and Matt and Pip Smith of Trefranck Farm for hosting, and to all the companies who have sponsored the event.”
It is hoped that future recipients of the NSA award will also put the bursary to such good use, just as Marie has done.
NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker commented: “The NSA Samuel Wharry Award offers young sheep farmers support and inspiration to travel and discover the important roles that science and technology now play in the improvement of the worldwide sheep flock.
“Previous recipients Marie and Charlie were great advocates of this during their study trips.
“After the world of travel being closed off for so long due to the Covid pandemic, it is especially pleasing to be able to move forward with the bursaries once again.
“NSA welcomes new applications, whilst of course, wishing Marie the very best of luck for her world record shearing attempt.”
Those wishing to support Marie’s shearing record can find out more and donate to her chosen charity, the Lily Foundation, by visiting go.nationalsheep.org.uk/Marieshearing
Applications for the second pair of travel bursary awards are now open giving enthusiastic and aspirational young sheep farmers the opportunity to widen their shepherding knowledge and experience.
The awards are made in association with the Company of the Merchant of the Staple of England, and are named in memory of Samuel Wharry, a sheep farmer from County Antrim who was NSA Chairman when he died suddenly in May 2017, aged just 56.
Young sheep farmers interested in finding out more about the NSA Samuel Wharry Award can visit the NSA Next Generation website.
The purpose of the study trip must be to learn more about the practical application of science and technology in the sheep sector.
The recipients of the award will be expected to share findings from their trip through NSA communications.
Applications are now open until Monday, September 12, with first interviews due to be held on Monday, October 3.
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