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NEMSA theaves trade at Thame augurs well for future sales

North of England Mule sheep aficionado Henry Tustain presented the champion pen of theaves at this year’s annual Shearwell Thame Summer Sheep Fair at the beginning of August.

A large crowd surrounded the Mule ring to see Mr Tustain, who farms with his family on the edge of the Cotswolds at Yarnhill Farm, Epwell, win the annual North Of England Mule Sheep Association Perpetual Challenge Trophy, given to the best run of 60 or more Mule theaves, then go on to sell his top quality theaves having reared a lamb at £260 for a pen of 24, other pens from the same run selling to £244, £242 and £238.

Mr Tustain remains one of the regular purchasers who make the annual pilgrimage north to source NEMSA ewe lambs for both himself and others at the high profile official sales at northern auction marts.

Back at Thame, where the NEMSA show class was judged by Robert Macintosh, of Milbourne Wick, Sherbourne, David and Peter Morris, who farm at Brill, Aylesbury, and stood NEMSA theaves champions at Thame two years ago, saw their top pen sell at £230 for 30 and their second pen at £215, also for 30. Trade of the day must go to Conrad Lester, of F C Lester & Son, Buckingham, for showing a superb run of double theaves (4T) for £250 for 25, up £84/head on the year.

The big annual opening Mule shearling sale at Thame is more often than not an early benchmark for future trade at the same year’s NEMSA ewe lamb sales – many return to the Oxfordshire centre the following year - and this year’s overall selling average of £171 per head, up £33, augurs well for the upcoming annual highlights, as does the Mule shearlings average of £177 at the annual Exeter Livestock Centre sale earlier the same week.

Sales of North of England Mules – ewes, shearlings and ewe lambs – are fast approaching and will again be held at leading auction marts across the north throughout September and October. Full details and dates are posted on the Association website at or for a printed copy of the Sales Booklet contact new NEMSA secretary Linda Allan on 07896 992598, email


Pictured: Henry Tustain is pictured with the NEMSA trophy after his Thame success.

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