Youngsters from across the UK took the top honours in a brace of competitions for young people at last week’s East of England Smithfield Festival, Peterborough, with winners from England, Scotland and Wales collecting the top tickets.
The Young Stockperson of the year finals saw a duo of English winners in the younger age catergory for those aged 15 to 17 years old, with the first prize in this age group going to Newark, Nottinghamshire-based Liam Goodard. Second to Liam was William Riddington, currently a student at Hartbury College, Gloucestershire, and hailing from Oundle, Northamptonshire.
In the senior section for handlers aged 18-21 years old the top spot was taken by Wrexham youngster Kevin Jones, while second spot went to Kirkmichael, South Ayrshire-based Louise Allan.
Judge Boomer Birch said all the competitors had impressed him with their knowledge and cattle handling skills, with the winners real beacons for the future of the industry. “Everyone in the final deserved to be there, they are exceptionally talented young people with great knowledge and a real passion for the livestock industry. The winners were truly outstanding and are give me huge confidence that the industry is in safe hands going forward.”
Meanwhile, the College Challenge stockjudging competition was equally hard fought, with 22 teams of four vying for top spot.
Taking top place in this competition was a team of four from Riseholme College, Lincoln, with second place going to Bishop Burton College, York.
The victorious Riseholme team comprised Jackson Maplethorpe, 16, Vicky Haywood, 18, Alex Walker 17 and Lucy Robinson, 18.
Meanwhile the Bishop Burton team included 21 year old Peter Elcombe, Lydia Hewison, 18, Jess Milner, 19 and Andrew Holt, 17.
Taking third spot was another team from Riseholme, with this team made up of Charles Wagstaff, 18, Will Harrison, 17, Gemma Parkinson, 23 and Tom Robinson, 16.
And taking fourth spot was Reaseheath College, with this team being Lizzy Mercer, 19, Tom Bird, 18, Ross Towers, 19 and Stephen Taylor, also 19.
Joint judges William Haire and Jonathan Long said all the competing teams had set a high standard and were to be commended on their knowledge and judging skills. “This is a great competition and truly tested each team’s ability to the maximum.”