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Calderdale’s Leach family retains prime lambs championship

The principals at CCM Skipton’s annual Christmas prime lambs show. On the right are the repeat title-winning Leach family, with the Midgley reserve supreme champions left. <i>(Image: Adrian Legge Photography)</i>
The principals at CCM Skipton’s annual Christmas prime lambs show. On the right are the repeat title-winning Leach family, with the Midgley reserve supreme champions left. (Image: Adrian Legge Photography)

THE Calderdale-based Leach family successfully defended their supreme championship in the prime lamb show classes at CCM Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Christmas highlight on Sunday.

Husband and wife, Adrian and Kathryn Leach, Hebden Bridge, clinched a prestigious repeat double with another top-notch Beltex trio, all out of home-bred ewes and sired by ‘Blackadder The Greatest Showman,’ bred in Scotland by Neil Harvey and champion ram at last year’s Border Union Show, later purchased at the Carlisle Premier Sale for 2,400gns.

The 41kg victors were first tapped out as winners of their Continental-x class, then trimmed, lowland and supreme champions by Long Preston show judge Clare Mellin, who later claimed them for a resounding sale high of £500 per head, £12.19 per kilo, for Cropper Family Butchers & Deli, Accrington, which she runs with her father, George Cropper and team. The Blackburn Road shop was purchasing the title winners for an unprecedented fourth year running.

Clare also paid £4.51 per kilo, £170, for her chosen reserve trimmed, reserve lowland and reserve supreme champion lambs, the first prize 37kg Beltex-x trio from another Calderdale showman, 2020 and 2021 Skipton supreme champion, Jon Midgley, Luddendenfoot. They were again by an Ainstable tup bought out of Skipton as a ram lamb and also responsible for his 2021 victors.

The Leach family also stepped up with the third prize 45kg Beltex-x lambs, two again by Blackadder, the third by an Irish-bred Ardstewart tup. They made £4.41 per kilo, £200, when joining another regular buyer, Knavesmire Butchers, York.

The runners-up in both trimmed lamb show classes, again Beltex-x, came from the Leach family’s neighbours, Brian and Linda Lund, Walshaw, their 39kg trio making 428p/kg, £170, the heavier 42kg pen doing better at 433p/kg, £185. Both fell to Vivers Scotlamb, which purchased multiple prize-winning pens.

The third prize under 40kg trio, 36kg Beltex from the Ribble Valley’s James Towler and Sammy Fawcett, Steelands Farm, Grindleton, also caught the eye when knocked down at £5.55 per kilo, £200.

Ellis Bros, Addingham Moorside, stood both champion and reserve in the untrimmed lambs section with red rosette-winning three-quarters home-bred Beltex trios, four by home-bred tups going back to Airyolland breeding, the other duo by North Craven Rathbone rams.

Their first prize 47kg pen made 436p/kg, £205, the first prize 30kg trio 483p/kg, £190. Ellis Bros also consigned the third prize 45kg pen, another Knavesmire Butchers buy at 437p/kg, £200 Clinching the hill lambs championship for the third year running were the Hutchinson family, Faceby, with a trio of 52kg Scottish Blackface wethers, which retained the Anthony Dean Perpetual Trophy after being tapped out by judge Mick Etherington, Eldwick, then knocked down at £140, 265p/kg, to Swaledale Foods, Skipton.

The Hutchinsons also finished runners-up in the Suffolk-x class with 54kg lambs also falling to Swaledale Foods at 274p/kg, £148, the 45kg first prize winners from D&A Livestock, Haverah Park, making 302p/kg, £138, to P Marley, Bedale.

The reserve hill champions also became a further Swaledale Foods purchase at 227p/kg, £125. These were the first prize 55kg North of England Mule wether lambs from Kevin Wilson and family, Blubberhouses, with the same home also responsible for the third prize 52kg pen, purchased by the Faceby Hutchinsons at 225p/kg, £119, the 53kg runners-up from Joe and Nancy Throup, Draughton, also falling to Swaledale Foods at 228p/kg, £122.

Allan and Susan Throup, Silsden Moor, consigned the first and second prize Masham pens, the 46kg victors selling at 250p/kg, £116, to John Kearns Butchers, Shipley, the 48kg runners-up at 242p/kg, £118, again to the Hutchinsons.

John Smith, Carleton, stood first and second with Swaledales, the 50kg class winners making 230p/kg, £115, when claimed by Phil Parkin, Parkin Family Butchers, Howden, Goole, the 46kg runners-up 225p/kg, £105, going to Halifax wholesalers J&E Medcalf, who also paid £209p/kg, £95, for the third prize pen from the Calton Crisps.

The Dalesbred show class again fell to David Wilson and family, Crimple Head, Beckwithshaw, with 41kg lambs sold for 224p, £92, the Liddle partnership further chipping in with the second prize 41kg pen, 220p/kg, £92, again to J&E Medcalf, who also paid 240p/kg, £180, for the 45kg runners-up In the other horned/hill/native breed class from Bryan Dibb, Yeadon, the third prize 47kg pen from Richard Wood, Stokesley, making 247p/kg, £117, when also on the Swaledale Foods shopping list.