NSA recognises HRH The Prince of Wales for his contribution to sheep farming

19th April 2013

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has announced His Royal Highness (HRH) The Prince of Wales as the winner of the 2012 George Hedley Memorial Award, which is presented annually to recognise an individual for their outstanding contribution to the sheep sector.

John Geldard, NSA Chairman, says: “We are absolutely delighted to name HRH The Prince of Wales as a deserving recipient of this prestigious award. In its 52-year history the George Hedley Memorial Award has recognised a wealth of great people who have made incredible contributions to the industry, and it is a pleasure to add a member of the royal family to that list for the first time.

“No other individual can be said to have such a holistic approach to supporting the sheep sector as the Prince of Wales. Be it his patronage of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, various breed societies and industry organisations, his instigation of the Mutton Renaissance Campaign, forming the Campaign for Wool or championing young people through the Prince’s Countryside Fund, his passion for the sector and upland sheep farming in particular is abundantly clear. Through all his initiatives he has sought to add value to our meat and wool to ensure better returns, but also raise the profile of our sector and demonstrate the environmental and wider benefits of sheep farming to the rural economy.

“The Prince of Wales’ support of both rare breeds and young people shows he values the need to protect traditional ways of sheep farming but also strengthening our industry for the years to come. Similarly, he has been there as a helping hand in times of crisis but equally encouraged the sector to look forward and innovate to ensure its future viability.”

The winner of the George Hedley Memorial Award is voted for annually by NSA representatives, following nominations from a number of committees, organisations, breed and show societies involved in the sheep sector. HRH the Prince of Wales will be presented with his award later in the year.

Reflecting on this year’s winner, David Pittendreigh, NSA Wales/Cymru Chairman, says: “HRH The Prince of Wales has a long-held commitment to British agriculture and upland sheep farming in particular. His Farmers Marketing Initiatives are just one example of this and, in Wales, the Cambrian Mountains Initiative exemplifies his passion for supporting the rural community where sheep farming is at its heart. Through developing a brand and hosting meetings for farmers with major customers he has helped to develop Cambrian Mountain lamb as an exclusive, added value product. The breadth of his passion for the sheep sector and the number of initiatives he champions show why he is such a deserving winner of this award.”

Notes to editors:-

  • NSA has presented the George Hedley Memorial Award annually since 1960.
  • HRH The Prince of Wales is the 2012 winner; nominations for the 2013 recipient will be invited later this year.
  • Each person who receives the NSA George Hedley Memorial Award is given a specially sculptured statuette of a South Country Cheviot sheep, which is mounted on a plinth carrying the name of the recipient and the words ‘For outstanding service to the sheep industry’. Recipients are also made Honorary Life Members of the National Sheep Association.
  • The award is given to honour the memory of George Hedley, a highly respected farmer from the Scottish borders who was involved with the NSA (then the National Sheep Breeders Association) for many years. It was while he was Chairman of NSBA, travelling to a Council meeting in London on 26th January 1960, that he was tragically killed in a car accident.
  • For more information on the George Hedley Memorial Award, please contact Joanne Pugh, NSA Senior Communications Officer, on 07807 237982 or joanne@nationalsheep.org.uk.