THE Rye area featured prominently in the new South East Sheep Shearing Competition.
One of the competition founders is Rye man Rob Morris while Jo Cutting, also from Rye, was beaten by a slender margin in the Ladies Class.
Jo has a personal best of shearing 250 sheep shorn in one day.
Southern Shears UK has been set up by a small group of farmers, shearers and enthusiasts keen to promote the skill of sheep shearing and encourage new entrants to the profession.
Sponsors include the National Farmers’ Union and the National Sheep Association.
The competition took place at Holmbush Farm, Faygate, West Sussex.
There was a Novice, Junior, Open, Blades and Ladies Class. The competition attracted 23 shearers, including seven ladies. Judge Laurence Carter said: “I’ve never seen so many lady shearers.”
Shearers from Devon, Wiltshire, New Zealand and Poland competed alongside local contractors. Competitors ranged in age from 19 to 69.
The Blades Class promoted the traditional skill of hand shearing. The two entrants, George Mudge,66, from Devon and Forty Bush,48, from Wiltshire, both represent England in the World Blades Shearing Competition. The class was won by Forty Bush.
The Junior Class, won by Susie Parish, saw Andrew Pannell, 23, from Worthing, who shears around 3000 sheep a year competing for the first time.
Rob Morris from Rye said: “We achieved what we set out to achieve, to promote shearing in the South East and to encourage more people to enter shearing.”
Chair of Southern Shears UK and Lecturer at Plumpton College, Phil Hart said: “The highlight for me was seeing the Novice shearers being first on the stand at the end after watching a thrilling 20 sheep open final, inspired and full of enthusiasm to help shear the remaining 40 sheep.
“Shearers from all classes joined in to help out. A great team effort!”