Ernest Williams of the Stelfox Flock passed away with his family at his bedside in the early hours of this morning the 7th of November after a battle with prostrate cancer. He fought bravely and maintained his dry wit right to the end. Ernest formed the Stelfox prefix along with son Tony and daughter in law Jill in 1979 and supported the breed passionately. He had many an enjoyable trip both home and across to Holland, France & Ireland with the "old faces" of the North west club and carried on an interest in the breed after the flock relocated to west wales with Tony, Jill and family. Ernest followed us down to Pembrokeshire 9 years ago could often be found in the Lambing sheds or walking amongst the stock as his health allowed. A service will be held on the 15th of November at Narberth Crematorium, Pembrokeshire.
Tribute written by son Kenny Johnstone, to read in full please click here
Barbara Gamble sadly passed away peacefully on 4th May aged 88 years.
As Barbara journeyed down the lane of Springwell Farm for the last time not only was she accompanied by family and friends but the livestock and animals that she loved and cherished were also there in attendance to witness her passing.
Barbara from the earliest age had set her heart upon a life in farming and in particular livestock farming. In 1977 along with her late husband Bobby they registered the first pedigree Texel flock in Northern Ireland, the Springwell flock.
Barbara was not only a great supporter of Texel sheep but also a passionate and enthusiastic promoter of the breed. For more than two decades she held offices not only within the N Ireland club but also within the National Board where she was a Director for a number of years. Over these years Barbara travelled many miles visiting numerous shows,sales and farms, meeting many breeders from Ireland, Europe and the U.K. and forming many long and lasting friendships.
Over recent years one of her greatest joys was to actively support her son Henry and Grandson Robert as they continue to build and develop the Springwell Flock. She was always proud and deeply delighted at any successes they might be fortunate enough to achieve.
Barbara is greatly missed by all her family and friends but this is tempered by all the good and fond memories of a life well lived.
Doug passed away aged 83 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He leaves wife Sue, son John and daughter Joanne (both married with family and living close-by and running the farm this last lambing time). Our thoughts are with them.
Doug has been a member of the Texel Society from early days, 1978. He was a member even before they had Texel sheep. He has bred Texels to a high standard, and has been a frequent winner at the Yorkshire show and several local shows. He has sold predominantly and very successfully to a a strong commercial market.
He was a founder member of the Northern Area Texels and took his turn in early days as Vice Chairman and then Chairman through the years when the Club was growing and very busy with promotional events. He was also flockmaster of the Texel Group breeding scheme, (YTD) and also chaired various Texel initiatives such as Progeny and Performance Testing of Texels in the 80's as several members sought to develop the breed in Yorkshire.
While he was also and arable farmer, he loved his sheep and was always looking to develop new ideas in the Texels. He will be sadly missed by many in the agricultural fraternity.
The funeral will take place on Monday 11th April at 12 noon at Hutton Buscel Church (near Scarborough).
Enid sadly passed away after a courageous fight. Enid was married to Deri Jones, one of the South Wales Regions original and most loyal Members.
Our thoughts are with Deri and family.
Respected Texel Breeder Mr John McKerrow passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday 18th November. A private family funeral took place on Wednesday 25th November followed by an open remembrance service at 1.30pm at St Michaels Parish Church in Kirkgate. The service was attended by over 1,000 people, a testament to John’s character. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family.
The Society has been informed of the sad death of Robert Watts. Robert excelled at breeding Texel sheep for years. His rams were always in demand and the type of ewe he produced stayed true to type for over 30 years. His contribution to the success of the Texel in commercial flocks over the years was understated but significant. Robert was presented with the President’s award in 2013 in recognition of his dedication to the Texel Breed. Our sympathies go to his family.
The funeral will take place on Friday 25th September at Stogumber church at 11.00am, cremation at 1.00pm and refreshments at 2.30pm at the Rest and be Thankful, Wheddon Cross.
Bob died in August after a short illness, but until January this year he was still working on the farm and shepherding his sheep. We had moved to the farm in 1982, after I’d seen Bob “come full circle” from a career in social work. Prior to that, he had been to Harper Adams where he did the NDA course – when he wasn’t fully involved in many extra-curricular activities(!) such as rugby, starting a debating society, and editing the college magazine.
Within a couple of years of qualifying, Bob developed “itchy feet” in the ‘60’s and bought a one-way ticket to New York – the start of his journey to work his way round the world. New York opened his eyes to social problems, race relations and poverty; but before completing 6 months there, it became urgent that he left as he would have been eligible for “the draft” and didn’t want to be sent on active service to Vietnam. With no money, he signed on with a German freighter to Australia where he looked up an old college friend and spent 3 months working on a sheep station, before returning home.
A career change followed, and as I’ve said many times before, “I thought I’d married a social worker, which just shows how wrong you can be!” We moved to the farm in 1982 with three small children, while still working for Sheffield Social Services. Life then became a juggling act as we both job-shared as social workers and worked on the farm for the rest of the week – a combination that continued till retiring from social work 20 years later.
Our crazy life-style meant that we often had social workers bringing youngsters to visit the farm, especially at lambing time and calving time; and in addition, Bob was instrumental in helping to set up the Trust for Outdoor Pursuits in South Yorkshire, to help youngsters who were in danger of coming before the courts – a Trust which ran for 30 years.
Bob chose the Texel breed when a fellow sheep farmer advised him he should “choose a breed that you’d want to see lying on the pillow next to you when you wake up in a morning,” though I can honestly say he never went that far! What he did draw on was the knowledge he’d acquired when working at Pig Improvement Company in the early days of developing a recording system for assessing performance, and he applied this knowledge later when rearing the Handbank Flock.
It was important to him to produce stock fit for the commercial market and was proud of our success in carcase competitions (only missing out on rosettes at Gt. Yorks. Show twice in 30 years and having the Champion Carcase in 1990 and Reserve Champion in 2000). He was also proud that most of the flock was in the top 2% of the Signet Recording System.
Since his retirement from Social Services, Bob became more involved with National Sheep Association and served for 10 years as Chairman of NSA Central Region, as well as serving on national committees such as Finance and General Purposes, and Board of Directors and Trustees. Although he was enthusiastic about the Texel breed, he felt strongly that the whole of the sheep industry needed to be not only promoted but also defended and protected; as we were all so inter-dependent that if one part was under threat, it would have implications for the survival of the whole sheep industry. It was for this reason that he was more committed to working on behalf of NSA than for any individual breed.
Bob retired as Chairman last year. He felt very strongly that there were too many “grey beards” at the head of the organization, which was not only bad for the image of NSA but was also deterring young people from wanting to get involved. Throughout his career he had always been committed to encouraging the next generation – a task more urgent now than ever before where the Sheep Industry is concerned.
Above all, Bob was a family man and loved spending time with the immediate and the extended family, both on an individual basis or at family gatherings – whether or not they had an interest in sheep! This kind, generous, serious-minded and wise man, whose dry wit and wicked sense of humour came into everything he did, leaves an enormous hole in our lives as we carry on with the farm.
Perhaps it was fitting that he should be laid to rest in a woollen coffin – supporting the sheep industry to the last.
Anne Payne, 14.10.2015
David Eric Short who died in Stafford Hospital on October 24th 2014, at the age of 75, had suffered ill health for much of his last year. That prevented him from promoting each week at his office at both Market Drayton and Shrewsbury Auction Centres the value of Blue Merle’s homeopathic animal treatments, and his belief in the superiority of Texel sheep, particularly Dutch Texels.
Leaving Wolverhampton Grammar School in 1957 David Short enrolled as a student at Rodbaston Agricultural College, Penkridge, where he gained the Top Student of the year award. From there he went to Harper Adams Agricultural College, and gaining his NDA. He left in 1961 to take up a living- in post with the Animal Breeding and Research Organisation at their beef and sheep research centre at Cold Norton near Stone in Staffordshire.
But wanting to marry he left in June 1963 to take up the position of Assistant Manager with house provided, at the BOCM pig unit at Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire . Three years later in 1966, David and Jean and their young daughter Karen left BOCM to buy Withysitch Lane Farm, Milwich, near Stafford.
There they set about erecting the buildings for a breeding and fattening pig unit, taking their herd up to 50 sows. Meanwhile his old Rodbaston College Principal Harold Wells was delighted to be able to welcome back as an extra mural lecturer a man with great practical and teaching skills in addition to theoretical knowledge.
Unfortunately the 1967/8 Foot and Mouth outbreak which was rife in much of Staffordshire, took out his recently established pig herd. He and Jean, now with three young children, had to begin once again to build up their herd and farm output. Fortunately David’s reputation as an expert shearer also brought him income from the ever increasing number of flocks he was asked to shear. Indeed his shearing ability and knowledge of the craft, recognised when he was appointed a judge for the Wool Board, saw him in later years judging shearing competitions at both the Great Yorkshire and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Shows. In July 1994 he judged the World Sheep Shearing Championship. More recently he had again been asked to Judge at both shows, but painful problems in his legs sadly precluded him from accepting such invitations.
Whilst continuing to work as an extra mural lecturer at Rodbaston College, one of his pupils being the present Breed Secretary of the Texel Sheep Society, John Yates; he began in 1976 to create his own Withysitch flock of pedigree Texels. By the late 1980’s he had built up a flock of 300 pedigree ewes, most of them Dutch Texels.. He sold rams and breeding females at home and was an early member of the North Western,and the Shropshire and Borders Texel Clubs.
In September 1991 at a very successful sale at Chelford Market he sold the bulk of his flock. He retained only the nucleus, from which he continued to breed and sell until 2001, when again Foot and Mouth disease struck the farm and he once more lost all his stock. David and Jean finally retired from active farming in 2007, when they moved to a modern house at Hopton, near Stafford. Though only severe illness in his last months prevented him from continuing to advise friends and clients on livestock management, and to prescribe solutions to their needs from his livestock market office.
David Short was a strong likeable personality with a huge number of friends, many of whom joined his wife and family at his funeral service held at the Milwich Parish Church in November.He was a strong and influential advocate of the Texel Breed. Post assistant manager of the then BOCM research pig unit at Stoke Mandeviille, Buckinghamshirewith the Animal Breeding and Research Organisation at their research farm at Cold Norton near Stone
(Obituary comments on David Eric Short from friend and fellow former Dutch Texel breeder Keith Stevens).
The success of the Mullan Flock over recent years is in no small way down to the encouragement, support and hard work that Carol contributed to all aspects of the enterprise, be it family life or farming life. Carol was extremely enthusiastic about the Texel Flock and this could be felt by the warmth of her welcome and her pride in Brian’s achievements. Texel visitors to the Mullan flock will remember Carol’s delicious home baked wheaten loaf !
We extend our heartfelt sympathies and our future support to Brian, Lauren, George and Amy and the entire family circle.
For the last 16 years Archie had been fighting a battle with Cancer, but you would never have known. He was always upbeat, positive and forward thinking, and his infectious personality, quick wit and subtle humour left everyone he met with a smile on their face. A real Ambassador for mankind, as well as Texel sheep.
The Woodlands flock was formed jointly in 1974, and split in 1989 when brother Jim moved to Garngour and established Garngour Texels. Archie’s flock was run alongside a herd of Blonde D’Aquitaine cattle, and his outstanding stockmanship led him to many show and sale successes, but also numerous invitations to judge at both local and national events.
One of the highlights was when he sold a gimmer at the Society’s 30th Anniversary sale in 2004 for 10,000 Gns. and her bloodlines are still producing winners today. Because of ill health he dispersed his flock in 2009 and the massive ringside of buyers was testament to both Archie and his sheep.
Although the sheep were gone, Archie never missed the Society Lanark sale or the many Scottish Club outings to see Texels all over the UK. He was appointed Texel steward when Texel classes were first introduced at Lesmahagow Show in 1983 and he never missed a show. He always had a word for all the exhibitors as he handed out the prize cards and that was well done. He is survived by wife Jen, and son John
Charlotte Cobbald was energetic and enthusiastic about everything involved in farming. Charlotte loved the countryside, young farmers, her Texel flock, the flock of crossbred ewes and most of all her border collies.
During her short life of 17 years Charlotte demonstrated her knowledge and ability as a young shepherd, young farmer and dog handler on the trials field. Charlotte loved the atmosphere generated at the society ram sales and always looked forward to Lanark and Worcester.
Charlotte was very proud to have won a championship at “Her Suffolk Show” with a good Texel gimmer, and especially proud to have won 2 firsts at the Smithfield Show just last year.
Although 17 years was not long enough Charlotte packed a lot into her years. Charlotte always gave 100% to anything she was involved in. We will all miss her infectious smile.
It is with regret we report the passing of South Wales Texel Breeders’ Club Member, Powell Jones of the Llanthomas Texel Flock.
Powell originally farmed in partnership with his brother where they had both dairy and pedigree Hereford cattle and commercial sheep. With the interest in Herefords waning in the late seventies, it was decided to reduce the Hereford herd and Powell would concentrate on the sheep and it was in 1979 that the first crop of Texel lambs arrived at the farm and the Llanthomas Flock was established. These lambs were sired by Norwood Commander, a ram which had been purchased the previous autumn at the Texel sale in Banbury Market.
The main aim was to produce about 30 strong yearling rams for the NSA ram sale in Builth Wells and it was at this sale in 1998 that Llanthomas Decimus was sold to the Quick family in Devon.
Powell promoted the Texel, helping establish the breed to its current popularity in the Breconshire area. He was a great supporter of all the local Shows where he gained much success over the years. This was two fold, one to advertise his stock and secondly the social side, where great friendships were made. In 1985, 1987 and 1995, he won the carcase competition at the Royal Welsh Show with Texel sired lambs.
In 1998, Powell’s brother retired and the dairy herd was dispersed. Powell and his wife, Marion took over the farm and concentrated on the sheep enterprise.
Powell was proud to be associated with the South Wales Texel Breeders Club, being an active lifelong member and past Chairman. He won the flock competition held by the Club on a number of occasions and through this Club, he gained many friendships which lasted his lifetime and he enjoyed meeting and talking to those involved in the breeding of Texel sheep. He judged at many Shows, but was most honoured to be chosen to judge at the Royal Show in Stoneleigh where he placed Stephen and Caroline Williams’ ram, Ballaglonney Dan Dare Champion. This ram then went on to take the Interbreed honours.
It was in 2000, that Powell first became ill, but with the support and dedication of his wife Marion and his family, his determination allowed him to continue to lead a happy and fulfilling life. He carried on producing quality sheep with the help of his family thereby continuing the tradition of the Llanthomas Flock which is still going strong. He was particularly pleased that his grandson, Rhodri took such a keen interest in the Texels and was proud when Rhodri was awarded the South Wales Texel Club Person of the Year trophy.
Powell will be remembered with great respect and was a top stockman and true gentleman. He will be missed greatly by Marion, Lynne, Paul, Brian, Angela and his four grandchildren Aled, Rhodri, Bailey and Logan.
David sadly passed away on Christmas Day after a short illness. He had been a farmer all his life mainly involved in dairying. In 1998 David sold the dairy herd and in the following year formed the Llegodig flock of pedigree Texels with the purchase of twenty four (24) ewes from well known local and national flocks. David purchased big strong ewes with length, good loin and a leg on each corner. His business strategy was about producing yearling rams for the commercial finished lamb producer and this he achieved with some style.
The flock soon grew in size to over one hundred (100) ewes with over fifty (50) rams being sold annually at the Builth Wells NSA Ram Sale and the Shropshire and Borders Club Sale at Welshpool.
David enjoyed showing his sheep and competed successfully at the Shropshire and West Mid Show and the Royal Welsh Show.
In the last few years as the flock has become more well known David has sold at the English and Welsh National Sales with many of the rams being sold to pedigree breeders from all over the UK.
David was a very loving and kind husband, father and grandfather. In 2001 he overcame his fear of flying and flew to Australia to see his daughter Jenny get married there. David was also very supportive when his other daughter Jackie was seriously ill and on her recovery went on to help her establish a new business.
David was highly respected as a fine stockman, a shrewd business man and a very good friend to all who knew him; he will not be forgotten and will be fondly remembered by us all.
(Chairman of the Shropshire & Borders Texel Club)
Gordon Brooke was born at Honley near Huddersfield in 1928. Leaving the RAF with £3 in his pocket, he embarked on what was to be a remarkable career in business.
He joined Holmes Heaton, a local firm, which made machinery for the textile industry in UK and overseas. Displaying unusual ability as an engineer and a salesman, Gordon moved steadily upwards through the company, eventually becoming Chief Executive. Any spare money he had was invested in land; first a forty acre farm, then a farm of one hundred and twenty acres which he expanded to three hundred.
Eventually, Gordon Brooke bought the firm of Holmes Heaton which he sold in 1995 when business was booming. This allowed him to concentrate on his farming, by now at Linton Wold near Malton, where he established the Linton Gilbertines herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle. Little more than a year ago, by now aged eighty four, he relocated to Upper Huntlywood in the Scottish Borders.
The wisdom of his investment in cattle began to show in 2013 when his heifer, Primrose, won the Interbreed Championship at the Bicentenary Border Union Show and his bull, Rocco, made the top price at Stirling Bull Sale. Also interested in sheep,, he noticed that, in his own words, “ the Texel was the butchers’ choice”, and, over two years, he invested in some of the top priced gimmers sold at Lanark and Carlisle from well known flocks. It is intended that the ‘Brooke’ flock will be expanded in the near future.
Unfortunately Gordon himself will not see this as he died on the last day of 2013.
It is with regret we have to report the death at the age of 80 years of Mr Tom Kellet.
After a visit to the Royal Welsh Show Tom became enamoured of the Texel breed, and set up the Pen Bryn (KTP) flock in 1980.
Tom was a long standing member of the North West. Ruthin, and North Wales clubs, also serving as chairman of the North Wales club.
Tom and his wife Eurwen have been regular attendees at the North Wales show and sales circuits, and were respected for the consistent quality of the stock they showed and offered for sale.
Tom came from farming stock near Burnley in Lancashire, but had aspirations to play football. Indeed he was going to sign up with some southern football club named Arsenal but his father told him to get a “Proper job” and so he apprenticed as a joiner, met his wife, and returned to her native Anglesey where he worked on the construction of the nuclear power plant before taking over the Aber limestone quarry in Moelfre. Examples of Tom’s work can be seen as far afield as Birmingham Town Hall and one of the London museums, as well as adorning many local buildings and feature fire surrounds in houses all over Anglesey.
Tom had a good voice, and graduated from choirboy to country and western, having his own group The T K 5, it was fitting that he was laid to rest to his rendition of one of his favourite tunes Neon Rainbow which he recorded in Nashville whilst on holiday there.
Tom will be missed by all who knew him, and our thoughts are with Eurwen and their family.