FAWCETT FAMILY TRIUMPH AT SKIPTON CHRISTMAS PRIME BEEF SHOWCASE As supreme champion buyer Keelham Farm Shop makes history History was made at Skipton Auction Mart’s prestigious Christmas show and sale of prime cattle when Keelham Farm Shop in Thornton, Bradford, paid a show-topping £3,164, or £5.60 per kilo, for the supreme champion to make it an unprecedented clean sweep of 12 successive prime beef title-winning purchases at every single monthly show this year.

It’s a feat that has never before been seen at the North Yorkshire venue and one James Robertshaw, co-owner of Keelham Farm Shop, was hoping he might pull off, though he had to fight off strong competition at the packed ringside to secure his chosen champion, as he co-judged the show with Joe Woolley, of Woolley Bros Wholesale Butchers in Holbrook, Sheffield.


The victor, a 565kg Limousin-sired bullock, out of a British Blue cow, was shown by the Fawcett family, of Kissthorn Farm, Sand Hutton, York, represented by Carl Fawcett and his three sons Edward, William and Jimmy. They acquired the title winner, also male champion, aged just under one-year-old from its breeders, the Dent family in Barnard Castle, and have since worked their magic on it at home.


York area farmers dominated the show this year, with the reserve championship awarded to the first prize 670kg British Blue-cross heavyweight heifer and female champion from 2013 Skipton Christmas supreme champion Willie Timm, of TWH Farming, based at Olive Farm, Easingwold, which sold for £2,044, or 305p/kg to co-judge Joe Woolley, buying on behalf of David Johnson Family Butchers on Barnby Dun, near Doncaster.


With a tremendous show of cattle, the two adjudicators took some time to choose an overall champion from their two frontrunners. They commented: “It was very close, though the title winner had the better finish and was a handier size, being well proportioned throughout - just the type a butcher’s shop would want to buy.”


Mr Robertshaw did just that at the ringside for his Brighouse & Denholme Road farm shop, with the victor one of seven prime beef acquisitions on the day. Keelham also secured four further red rosette winners as follows:


The first prize winner in the young handlers class, a 610kg British Blue-cross heifer from Mark and Elaine Hartley, of Rouglee, Burnley, for £1,781, or 292p/kg.

The first prize heavyweight steer, a 630kg Limousin-cross from Matt Tomlinson, of Muggington in Derbyshire at £1,751, or 278p/kg.

The first prize 515kg British Blue-cross heifer, also awarded a special prize as the best home-bred animal, from Sheila Mason’s Keasden herd in Clapham, for £1,648, or 320p/kg.

The first prize native-bred heifer, a 530kg Shorthorn from Clare Cropper and John Mellin, of Long Preston, at £1,298, or 245p/kg.


Further Keelham buys were a 555kg British Blue-cross steer from Gavin Boocock, of Fridaythorpe, Driffield, at £1,360, or 245p/kg, along with a 595kg British Blue-cross heifer from the same vendors for £1,389, or 225p/kg.


Keelham Farm Shop’s support of regional farmers remains unremitting. As well as purchasing every single monthly prime cattle champion at Skipton this year, the business has also bought multiple monthly prime lamb champions in its continuing quest to source the best quality and tastiest meat for its ever-growing band of appreciative customers.


Buying locally means that the award-winning farm shop is able to sell the best meat in Yorkshire at affordable prices. James Robertshaw said: “Skipton’s high profile Christmas fatstock shows are an annual highlight for independent family-run butchers like ourselves who are looking to source the cream of the region’s primestock. Our customers trust us to provide the finest-tasting meat, at family-friendly prices – especially important at this time of year.”


Meanwhile, development work continues apace on Keelham’s brand-new farm shop adjoining the auction mart site in Gargrave Road, Skipton, which is due to open early 2015.


On a day that saw leading independent retail butchers and meat wholesalers again compete for the cream of the region’s prime cattle, all of which will be fully matured before finding their way to this year’s Christmas tables, Woolley Bros’ Joe Woolley was also prominent at the ringside when making five acquisitions.


Chief among them was the reserve supreme champion for David Johnson Family Butchers’ Top Road shop in Barnby Dun. Mr Johnson has been a butcher all his life, previously running a market stall in Doncaster Market for ten years, before establishing his current shop nine years ago.


Mr Woolley also made a second Skipton acquisition for the shop, the third prize winner in the young handlers class, a 580kg British Blue-cross from Janet Sheard in Almondbury, Huddersfield, for £1,566, or 270p/kg.


He also bought two top-notch prime cattle on behalf of Andrew’s Retail and Catering Butchers in Rotherham - the second prize heavyweight steer, a 615kg Limousin-cross from John Stephenson in Bordley at £1,814, or 295p/kg, along with a 740kg Limousin-cross steer from Mark and Elaine Hartley, of Roughlee, for £1,776, or 240p/kg.


Based at Unit 2, Riverside Precinct, Andrew’s Butchers is run by Andy Birks, a butcher for more than 20 years.


Mr Woolley also paid £1,759, or 255p/kg, for a 690kg Blonde-cross steer from the Stoney family in Pateley Bridge on behalf of John Slattery’s Butchers, run by long-time butcher John Galley and now based in the new Sheffield Market on The Moor. He too has been in the trade for some 20 years.


Clare Cropper and John Mellin, of Mill House Farm, Long Preston, had a good day when presenting both the reserve champion male and female. The former was a 595kg steer again bred by the Dents in Barnard Castle that finished runner-up in the supreme champion’s show class after also becoming reserve British Blue male at both the English Winter Fair and Countryside Live.


It sold for £2,052, or 345p/kg, to to D&A Gregory & Sons Butchers in Bacup, regular buyers at the Christmas show. They also purchased two further Cropper-Mellin British Blue-cross heifer prize winners, their second prize 525kg entry at £1,575, or 300p/kg, and the red rosette-winning 445kg heifer for £1,379, or 310p/kg.


The same vendors were also responsible for the first prize 525kg British Blue-cross steer, which sold for £1,548, or 295p/kg, to Kitsons Butchers, one of six beef cattle acquisitions on the day for its two shops in Northallerton and Stockton-on-Tees.


They are run by Anthony Kitson, who bought this year’s English Winter Fair Limousin-cross supreme champion for the third year in succession, and has recently been joined in the business by his two sons Henry, 23, and 22-year-old Oliver after leaving university.


Also at Skipton, Kitsons Butchers bought both the second and third prize heavyweight Limousin-cross steers, the 650kg runner-up from Chris Crowther, of Greenfield, Oldham, for £1,885, or 290p/kg, and the third placed 640kg entry from Fridaythorpe’s Gavin Boocock for £1,760, or 275p/kg.


They also acquired two further Chris Crowther British Blue-cross entries, a 690kg steer for £1,690, or 245p/kg, and a 590kg heifer at £1,563, or 265p/kg, along with a 655kg British Blue-cross heifer from the Jowett family in Thornton, Bradford, for £1,703, or 260p/kg.


Cropper and Mellin’s reserve female champion, a 550kg British Blue-cross heifer, which also won a special prize for the best animal from a regular CCM vendor, returned home.


Matt Tomlinson was also responsible for the first prize heavyweight 565kg Limousin heifer, which sold for £1,695, or 300p/kg, to West Yorkshire butcher John Summers for his shop in Druids Lane, Clayton, Bradford. He also bought the same day’s prime pig champions.


The third prize 465kg Limousin-cross steer from Trawden’s Jim Baines sold for £1,636, or 275p/kg, to Stanforths Butchers in Skipton, who also paid £1,723, or 305p/kg, for a second 565kg heifer from Mr Baines, as well as adding a 625kg Limousin-cross steer from Willie Timms at £1,500, or 240p/kg.


The same vendor also sent out the third prize winner in the native breed class, a 465kg Aberdeen Angus heifer sold for £976, or 210p/kg to Hartshead Meats in Ashton-Under-Lyne.


Bolster Moor Farm Shop in Golcar, Huddersfield, run by Simon Haigh and his second cousin Andrew Whitwam, made two purchases, including the second prize winner in the young handlers show class, a 650kg British Blue-cross heifer from Jonathan Shorrock, of Cliviger, Burnley, for £1,625, or 250p/kg. Bolster Moor also paid £1,725, or 295p/kg, for a Limousin-cross heifer from the supreme championship-winning Fawcett family.


Saltaire butcher Richard Binns bought a rosette winner, the third prize 610kg Limousin-cross steer again from the Jowett family for £1,586, or 260p/kg.