Lancaster family retain prime lamb championship at CCM Skipton Christmas highlight Title winners again sell to Baxenden butcher for £480 top call Ribble Valley sheep farmers Ian and Mary Lancaster, and their son Richard, were over the moon when retaining the supreme championship they won for the first time the previous year at Skipton Auction Mart’s 2019 Christmas prime lambs show. (Sunday, Dec 1)

The Lancasters, of Coldcotes Farm, Wiswell, near Clitheroe, notched a notable double at the high profile annual highlight when again securing the title with a pen of three 39kg Beltex-cross lambs by a home-bred and first time used shearling ram, whose own sire, a ram from Andrew John Wood, who runs the Withy Trees Beltex flock near Preston, was also responsible for the family’s 2018 victors.
This year’s Continental trimmed lowland lamb champions went the way of last year’s title winners when again falling to retail butcher show judge, George Cropper Jnr for his Sandersons Butchers Shop in Manchester Road, Baxenden, for top call by far of £480 per head, or 1,230.8p/kg.
The Lancasters, who also stood third in the heavier weight trimmed lambs show class with same way bred 49kg Beltex-cross sold for £140 each to Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop in Lancaster Leisure Park, had more cause for celebration when securing the supreme championship at the same day’s annual lamb carcase competition.
This was with another same way bred Beltex-cross  that also headed the prices when falling for £310 to judge Clare Cropper, who with her father George runs Cropper Family Butchers in their new shop in Blackburn Road, Accrington, opened in July after more than 60 years of trading just across the road in Accrington Market.
Clare was also in action at the live prime lambs ringside when paying the day’s second top call of £190 per head ,or 441.9p/kg, for the overall reserve supreme champions, the first prize heavy trimmed Continental trio from Anthony and Emma Thompson, of Foulridge. Their 43kg home-bred Beltex-cross comprised one gimmer lamb and two wether lambs, this pair already having won prizes this year at Carlisle Agri-Expo and both the English and Welsh Winter Fairs.
The Thompsons’ 39-strong consignment, by both pedigree and home-bred tups, picked up multiple prizes, including the untrimmed lowland lamb reserve championship which the couple won when it was staged for the first time last year.
Their latest 42kg offering, runners-up in the Continental-cross untrimmed 40kg or more show class, made £128 each when purchased by Andrew Atkinson Livestock in Felliscliffe, for Hartshead Meat Co, of Mossley, Greater Manchester.
Three further red rosettes fell to the Thompson family with 39kg Beltex-cross lambs also claimed Cropper Family Butchers at £125 per head, and 48kg Suffolk-cross lambs that became another acquisition by Hartshead Meat Co.
The Thompsons’ two children, three-year-old Thomas, and Izzy, aged six, also got in on the act when presenting the first and second prize winners in the young handlers show class, these also Beltex-cross. The first prize winner sold for a heady £320 Hutchinsons Butchers in Ripley, Harrogate, with the runner-up also doing well at £150 when becoming a further Sandersons Butchers buy.
Mike Allen, from Staithes, stepped up on his untrimmed lamb reserve championship last year by taking the 2019 title with a trio of home-bred 45kg Beltex-cross lambs, by a tup from Leyburn’s Martin and Val Brown. They made top price in class of £140 per head when also falling to Hartshead.
The hill-bred lambs championship was won by a first prize trio of 48kg Scottish Blackface from retired builder and smallholder Sid Moore, of Newton-le-Willows, who has been breeding sheep for some 50 years.
Now aged 75, he is handing over to his 22-year-old grandson Jack Brittain, who is founding his own Scottish Blackface flock. The hill champions made top price in section when falling for £115 each to hill sheep show judge Joe Bosworth, who buys for A&D Meats in Rossendale.
The same show class also produced the reserve champions, 48kg Scottish Blackface from Bob Stubbs, of Crowton Hall Farm in Cheshire. Fourth generation tenant farmer Mr Stubbs is currently launching a new enterprise and is in the process of building his own farm.
Making his first-ever appearance in the show arena when joined by girlfriend Shaunna Lockhart, his overall reserve hill champions sold for £84 per head to livestock buyer, Morgan Helliwell, of Milnrow, Rochdale, who also went to £90 to claim the 46kg third prize pen, again from Sid Moore.
Adjudicator Mr Bosworth also paid £86 per head for the first prize 49kg North of England Mule lambs from NEMSA’s national chairman Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses, also snapping up all three prize winners in the Swaledale show class, including the first and second prize 45kg and 46kg lambs, both from Carleton’s John Smith, at £82 and £79 respectively.
David Wilson, of JM Wilson & Sons in Beckwithshaw, picked up two red rosettes, again winning the Dalesbred show class with 47kg lambs sold to Skipton-based Swaledale Foods for £85 each, and the Masham show class with 47kg lambs knocked down at £88 per head to Hutchinsons Butchers.
A total of 218 lambs again sold readily to both retail butchers and wholesalers from across the region sourcing for their customers’ Christmas tables. The overall selling average was £105 per head, or 240.8p/kg. The annual highlight was supported by multiple sponsors, with NFU Mutual in Skipton the mainline sponsor.