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NEMSA unveils new breed secretary

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

NEMSA – the North of England Mule Sheep Association – has announced the appointment of a new breed secretary, Linda Allan, who will be working closely with current long-serving secretary Marion Hope to ensure a smooth transition ahead of the official handover in August.

Linda farms in and around the Lune Valley in South Cumbria at Beck House Farm, Killington, north of Kirkby Lonsdale, with her husband Neil and four children, Ruby, Grace, Stanley and Daisy.

They farm 1,300 sheep, predominantly crossing Swaledale ewes, plus a small flock of earlier lambing North of England Mule ewes, further complemented by a pedigree Bluefaced Leicester flock, run under the Lakethwaite prefix. The Allans also have 20-plus pure Texels and 130 Herdwick ewes that are crossed with the Texel. The couple also run 300 head of cattle, calving some 70 sucklers, both Limousin and British Blue crosses, plus a small pedigree Galloway herd.

Linda started painting at school, then studied design at university and now uses video and photography as part of everyday life, promoting her multiple skills and interests via her website.

As well as producing original paintings, art prints and Christmas cards, she also runs a photography business, specialising in sheep-related DVDs, having worked with a number of breed societies to capture their breeds as they develop year on year.

Marion Hope has served as NEMSA’s secretary for 14 years. She and her husband David are themselves dyed-in-the-wool North of England Mule aficionados.

During her tenure, Marion has done a great deal to help NEMSA both develop and prosper. It remains one of the UK’s biggest sheep breed associations, with nine branches and some 1,000 members, while the North of England Mule ewe maintains her standing as Britain’s most prolific sheep breed in terms of numbers and the country’s most popular commercial sheep for crossing purposes.

Marion expressed warm thanks to the many people who have helped and supported her over the years – past and current presidents and chairmen, other officials at both national and branch level, lifeblood members and sponsors.

She said: “I have been all over the country to shows and have thoroughly enjoyed representing NEMSA on our show stand. I’ve met some truly wonderful and interesting people from so many diverse farming communities, among them our legions of breeders and users the length and breadth of the country. I know I leave both breed and association in fine heart, confident that NEMSA remains in extremely capable hands.”

NEMSA’s national chairman, Chris Harrison, who farms at Coatlith Hill, near Alston in Cumbria, said: “When Marion first took over NEMSA was just about washing its face. It has since been brought into profit and both body and breed are now thriving. Much of this can be credited to Marion’s efforts and enthusiasm.

“Not only has she proved a loyal servant as secretary, but she has also been a great ambassador. Her successor Linda Allan also has many key attributes and we look forward to welcoming her on board in August.”

Linda Allan commented: “I have been among North of England Mules all

my life and totally believe in the product. The NEMSA Mule continues to be the top of her job at every level, from lambing as a hogg to rearing those early Spring lambs as an older ewe. I look forward to meeting old and new friends and colleagues as I take the reins.”


Pictures Claire Benson Photography

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