A Nantwich student has become the first female winner of a regional sheep farmer competition.

Ellen Helliwell, based at Reaseheath College, showed all round skills to win the title of “Young Shepherd of the Year”.

The contest, run by the Central Region of the National Sheep Association (NSA), was held at The Winter Fair at Bakewell Agricultural Centre.

Ellen, 19, collected a trophy, two cheques, and also qualified for the NSA Young Shepherd of the Year national finals held in 2014 at the Malvern Three Counties showground.

Fellow Reaseheath student Ollie Bagley, 20, was in fourth place in the same competition.

The competition was made up of five demanding elements covering all aspects of the industry, including vehicle handling, belly clipping and stock duties such as sheep handling, foot care techniques, vaccinating and drenching.

Bob Payne, Chairman of NSA Central Region, said: “We have a responsibility to encourage the next generation and to ensure they have the range of skills the modern shepherd needs.

“We were delighted with the entries, which were of a high standard and came from a wide geographical area. I would like to thank Reaseheath College for their help in running the event. We wish Ellen every success at the Young Shepherd national finals.”

Ellen said: “I was very pleased to win this competition. It was a real test because the sections were so varied. I’m looking forward to the national final – although I’m a bit nervous!”

(Picture: Young Shepherd of the Year Ellen Helliwell and fourth placed Ollie Bagley)

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