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End of an era as new secretary takes over NEMSA reins

It was the end of an era as the executive committee of NEMSA – the North of England Mule Sheep Association – held its first ‘live’ meeting since the pandemic and bade farewell to Marion Hope, secretary for the past 14 years, as she officially handed over to her successor Linda Allan. (Sun, Aug 1)

National chairman Chris Harrison paid a glowing tribute to Marion for all her work, commenting: “NEMSA is in a healthy position and this is all down to Marion, who has done both breed and association proud during her tenure, including securing valuable sponsorship support.

“The North of England Mule has earned the right to be called the most popular lowland ewe in Britain and the original easy care sheep, and there is little doubt that Marion has contributed hugely to the continuing status and ever-growing reputation of the breed.”

Multiple tributes were also posted on social media. They came from near and far – from NEMSA branches, auctioneers, show officials, breeders and end users, as well as many friends and colleagues.

To ensure a smooth transition Marion has in recent months been working closely with Linda Allan, who farms with her husband and four children at Beck House Farm, Killington, in South Cumbria’s Lune Valley.

One of her first tasks was to set off with her family on a busman’s holiday, taking in the big annual opening Mule shearling sales at both Exeter and Thame, more often than not an early benchmark for future trade at NEMSA sales staged at northern auction marts over the autumn months.

Back at the NEMSA meeting, Chris Harrison, who farms at Coatlith Hill, near Alston in Cumbria, was unanimously re-elected to serve a third year as national chairman, his first two years in office being interrupted and curtailed by the pandemic.

“Over the next 12 months I’m looking forward to getting out and about again, to attending shows and sales up and down the country and meeting and catching up face to face with our lifeblood members and end users,” he said.

Shearwell Data continues to be NEMSA’s keynote sponsor, supplemented earlier this year by Eden Farm Supplies.


Pictured: Left (L-R) National chairman Chris Harrison with retiring NEMSA secretary Marion Hope and national president Jeff Taylor. Right, Marion with her successor Linda Allan.

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