NSA Samuel Wharry Memorial Award for the Next Generation
Announced at the NSA Sheep Event in July 2018, the very first NSA Samuel Wharry Memorial Award for the Next Generation was offered in Spring 2019 in the form of two £2,750 travel bursaries funded by NSA and the Company of Merchants of the Staple of England to support young people (under the age of 35) in a study trip to explore the application of science in sheep production.
Both NSA and the Merchant of the Staple of England are excited to share news of the very first two recipients of the awards.
Selected from a high calibre group of short-listed applicants, Marie Prebble from Kent and Charlotte (Charlie) Beaty from Warwickshire can now begin to firm up travel plans as both receive an award of £2,750 to explore sheep farming enterprises overseas.
Marie who farms 550 Romney breeding ewes in Kent is planning on using her bursary to travel to Norway and Iceland following a trip to compete at the world shearing championships in France with shearing and sheep welfare central to her journey. Marie says: “I am looking forward to putting my environmental sciences background to great use in studying 'practical considerations for welfare during shearing in the Northern Hemisphere' by connecting animal, social and environmental sciences with their practical applications on farm. I am so pleased and grateful to both NSA and the Staple for providing me with this opportunity and look forward to feeding back from my trip on my return.”
The second recipient, Charlie Beaty, farms 300 North Country Mules in Warwickshire alongside an arable and beef enterprise and is planning on travelling to New Zealand to explore ways of improving grassland management. Charlie explains: “With the current uncertainty facing the UK sheep industry I feel that sheep farmers should be looking to lower production costs by maximising the potential of the cheapest feed available to them – grass. I have chosen to travel to New Zealand as I don’t believe grassland management can be seen better in any other country. I am now very excited to plan each stage of my trip and look forward to working with NSA and the Staple to make the most of this opportunity.”
Marie and Charlie were selected following interviews with NSA Northern Ireland Region Development Officer Edward Adamson, NSA Wales and Border Ram Sales Director Jane Smith, NSA Operations Director Joanne Briggs and Stephen Fell from the Staple.
Joanne reports: “This is the first time NSA has awarded a bursary and we are thrilled with the outcome so far. This bursary is named in memory of NSA Chairman Samuel Wharry who sadly passed away suddenly in 2017. Samuel was an advocate for the application of science and technology on farm and we are confident he would be pleased to hear of the study tours both Marie and Charlie will take. All at NSA hope Sam’s enthusiasm, curiosity and practical nature will live on through these travel bursaries.”
Stephen Fell of the Staple comments: “I was very impressed at the interest shown in the new award and at the quality of the applicants. The eight applicants we interviewed demonstrated a good involvement in the sheep sector and the challenges facing it. The subjects they wished to study were wide ranging and very pertinent to those various challenges.
“The process was well structured and fair, and as a major supporter, we in the Merchant Company of the Staple of England are delighted with the result. Marie and Charlie were brimming with ideas and enthusiasm and I’m sure will prove worthy recipients of our new award.”
Marie and Charlie both plan to set off for their information-gathering trips later in 2019 and will report back to NSA and the Staple on their findings.
NSA Next Generation, supporting the future of the sheep industry through young people. NSA believes the UK sheep sector needs innovative, enthusiastic and professional young people coming through in order to survive. NSA Next Generation is dedicated to encouraging and supporting the sheep farmers and service providers of the future, through a number of activities throughout the country. The programme began in July 2012 with the support of a number of companies and individuals, including Samuel Wharry, whose legacy lives on in the form of the NSA Samuel Wharry Memorial Award for the Next Generation. Samuel was a sheep farmer from Carnlough, County Antrim, and NSA Chairman when he died suddenly in May 2017, aged just 56. As an advocate of science and technology, particularly relating to genetics, the memorial award ensures his enthusiasm, curiosity and practical nature live on.
The Company of Merchants of the Staple of England dates back to at least 1359; there is some historical evidence that is dates back to before 1265, when groups of merchants formed an organisation to strengthen their hold on the sale and export of wool. After that date they operated in London and a number of continental towns and cities, securing a Royal Charter in 1347, which was essentially a monopoly to engage in the export trade in raw wools, woolfells and hides from England, and to supply the great woollen industry of the continent. This continued until the mid-18th Century when the monopoly fell into decline. The Company now meets three times a year, is based in York and has a diverse membership, many of whom have or had strong connections with the woollen and textile industries. Its role is now primarily charitable.