by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer
And here we are! The last Cornel Clecs of 2022! Where did the year go?! At the end of another quite challenging year it is nice to be able to end the year on an heartening and positive note. Amidst all the troubles at the moment, politically and economically, let's consider the important things that are sometimes forgotten, namely the kindness of people, and those who think of others.
The majority of you will remember Mr Emyr O Roberts who worked as an FUW Area Officer in South East Denbighshire from 1990 until 2003. But that wasn’t the start of his connection with the Union. His late father was an enthusiastic member for many years, and Emyr is also a loyal member of the FUW Denbighshire and Flint branch. Very interestingly, he remembers seconding a proposal from Mr Tom Jones Cwm Nant yr Eira regarding the future of the family farm at an annual meeting, possibly sometime in the late sixties, something that is of course so relevant to us today.
But the time came to think about retiring completely in 2015 after working in agriculture for 50 years, including the period on the farm at home. After keeping sheep all his life, and enjoying notable success in shows, the flock's success led to a very special act of kindness that would benefit a charity very close to Emyr's heart. Here’s Emyr to explain more: “I've been keeping sheep all my life, and kept Wensleydale Longwool sheep for a while and fairly successfully at shows, but in 1998, the Charmoise breed caught my attention.
"The 'BONT' flock was established in 1999, and the rest is history. In 2000 I won three breed championships, one reserve championship and an interbreed championship in four shows in 8 days with the Wensleydales and Charmoises. This was possible before the Foot and Mouth restrictions of course!
"Then, the ‘FAMAU' Charmoise flock was established in 2010 when a friend, the late Jane Walsh, bought a half share in four ewes when I sold the breeding ewes from the flock and kept the ewe lambs. In recent years, my partner, Tracy Salisbury, took a half share in this flock. In 2010 I won the Charmoise breed championship at the Royal Show for the first time and followed this by winning the championship in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. One ewe won the championship in 2010, 2011 and 2013 - as far as I’m aware no other animal has done this within the breed.
"In October 2020 we decided to sell the in-lamb ewes at Ruthin market in January 2021 and share 10% of the proceeds from the sale between the DPJ Foundation and Cancer Research UK, a charity which means a lot to both of us as we, like so many others have lost loved ones to cancer. The highest price on the day was 1750 guineas (£1,837.50) to buyer Mr David Trow of Llandinam near Newtown, who was breed secretary for 16 years, and so far, this is the highest price that has been paid for a Charmoise ewe through auction. Both charities received £600 each after the auction.
"In January 2022, the remaining 5 ewes were sold at Ruthin market, and we decided that a cancer charity would benefit again with 10% of the sale price of the first four ewes to be presented to the charity along with the total price of the flock’s last ewe. This ewe was a bit of a favourite because she had rather a difficult time when she was a little lamb as her mother was very ill, and she was partly raised on a bottle. After quite a bit of competitive bidding she was sold for 1450 guineas (£1,522.50) to Mr David Trow along with two others.
"After an emotional sale, it was nice to have old friends congratulating us on a great sale and wish us well for the future. "The Ruthin Auctioneers Company also presented the commission of the last ewe to the charity and it was a pleasure to present a cheque for £1,808.29 to Ms Nadine Isaacs, Cancer Research UK's North Wales local co-ordinator at Ruthin market."
But that’s not the end of the story, the community spirit continues as there is now a very special use being made of the field, where the sheep once grazed.
"Having sold the sheep we have changed direction," Emyr explains "and have turned the small field where the sheep once grazed into allotments for local gardeners. It's a pleasure to see the field buzzing with activity once again, although very different to the number of years that the sheep were centre of attention"
What a wonderful and inspiring story and all the best to both in the future and it is wonderful to hear that the field continues to give enjoyment to others.
Before finishing, I would like to wish you and all your families a Merry Christmas. Thank you for your support and for being loyal readers once again. See you all in 2023, and remember to get in touch if you have any story that you think would be of interest to Cornel Clecs - it would be very nice to hear from you.