South West Club 2018 round up

As 2018 draws to a close, this is of course the final report of the year.

Hopefully all of you members have had a busy and successful year in your various ventures. lt is a shame that we have not all been able to meet together as often as would be liked. 'Use it, or lose it' comes to mind, particularly where the Herd Competition was concerned. That was a real shame, but the lack of enthusiasm for it and similarly few entries made it a non-starter.

However, determined not to miss one of the major social events of our calendar, the annual jaunt to The Countryman took place. Of course, we were warmly welcomed by Roger and his family and partook of the usual massive and delicious feast! A warm welcome was extended to Will and Kate Martin who joined the party, making the journey up from near Plymouth.

We were also delighted to welcome Jo Bailey, as you all know, the Society Breed Secretary, who made an epic journey from Northamptonshire to meet the Club members - what a shame there were so few there to meet her. Jo is full of vitality and enthusiasm for the breed and the society and is a real asset to the society and all British Shorthorn breeders.

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon for all that attended, we all came away fully replenished and having learnt more about the society and where it was heading for the benefit of its members.

Amongst a host of items discussed arose a very exciting opportunity.

There will be a supported show and sale of Beef Shorthorns in the South West, early in 2019. Jo has been in discussion with Kivells at Exeter, who have at this stage agreed to hold a native breed sale, incorporating a show and sale for Beef Shorthorn, in April. The exact date is yet to be confirmed.

This is a wonderful opportunity for all our members to live up to the frequent herd competition judge's comments that the quality of the stock in the South West would stand up to any other throughout the country. lt will be a real showcase for your stock at an extremely popular and easily accessible venue, renowned for regular buyers attendance from central and southern areas of the country and perhaps more importantly, easily accessible for all members.

This really is a great chance for all members to show the quality of the breed in the South West to bring their stock to the attention of established purchasers at a respected and popular venue, with extensive pre-sale publicity and the support of the Society and Kivells. Let's get out there and truly promote the breed and show what excellent stock is available in the West Country - it is an opportunity that doesn't come round very often and if they are prepared to support us, the very least we can do is to support them with stock presented there. Start thinking now about which of your stock may be appropriate for this event.

Further details will start to appear very early in the new year, Keep watching the local press and on this website, as well as my inevitable reminders.

Walter John Locke

It was with great sadness that we heard that John Locke had recently passed away.

John and Anne have been such valued and supportive members of the club, since the very early days of its establishment. We all owe them huge thanks for the beautiful rosettes that they have constantly provided for the herd competition - many of us have received these and now have something personal by which to remember John.

Both John and Anne shared a passion for horses and cattle. Anne was virtually ‘wedded’ to her local Pony Club branch and she and John would frequently take teams of members all over the country to complete against other branches. John's real love was driving and he was frequently to be seen competing in the ring at shows - one of his horses was seriously sought-after by a fellow competitor, however he was never to be sold and remained on the farm for his entire life.

Commercial cattle were the original bovine residents on the farm, however Beef Shorthorns soon came to the fore and, with Anne's enormous knowledge of pedigrees, she sought out the most suitable and preferred bloodlines for their herd and the Polden herd was resultant, of which they were both, quite justifiably, enormously proud. John and Anne were very familiar faces at both Frome and Sedgemoor markets.

It was always such a huge treat to spend a day with John on any herd visit or social occasion. His dry wit and permanent twinkle in the eye meant you could not fail to have a laugh, with the guarantee of a good day. That combined with his vast knowledge of cattle meant that he was such a pleasure to be with.

Our kindest thoughts and sympathies go to Anne, Pauline and Mark, as well as thanks for letting us all share part of John's life.

South West Winter Fair, Sedgemoor

The breed was represented at the South West Winter Fair at Sedgemoor, earlier this month.

It fell to SWBSBC to man the stand and provide information and hospitality to the visitors. Keith and Gill Turner, Alan Stevens and your Secretary took up their places in the exhibition hall - not without some hugely entertaining and frustrating attempts to erect the backdrop - all of us being over the age of 10, were finding it increasingly difficult. Please send a small child with the equipment next time! They would have succeeded in a quarter of the time we took. In fact, without the very welcome assistance of a fellow exhibitor, we might well still be there trying to fathom it out!

Frivolity apart, this was an opportunity to meet commercial and pedigree breeders, and promote the qualities and financial benefit via the Morrisons Scheme of the breed. One could not say that we were inundated with visitors, the majority of the footfall being around the show and sale rings, however those that did call by were genuinely interested in the breed.

Annual subscriptions

Yes, it is of course that time of year again. Subs are due at the beginning of the next year and it would greatly help our Treasurer if you could submit these as soon as possible. Those of you that use the standing order system, do not need of course to think about it, but all members who send cheques, please do this promptly in order to keep your membership active and up to date. Just to remind you, Individual Membership is £15.00 and Joint Membership is £20.00 ; cheques to be made out to South West Beef Shorthorn Breeders CIub and sent to the Treasurer, Mr K Turner, Mount Pleasant Farm, Pitsford Hill, Wiveliscombe, Somerset TA4 2RR.