Abbie Westcott and Thor Atkinson officially became full members of council as off 17th April 2020. Our first introduction comes from Abbie Westcott.
My name is Abbie Westcott and I own the Exmoor herd of British blondes. I am the current Chairwoman for the South West Blonde Club therefore I feel that council will become more balanced as I will be representing the voices from the entire South West membership. High health Cattle and breed promotion are at the top of my list. If we want to stand up against the other breeds we need to be playing in the same league!
I am currently on the council for the South West Winter Fair which is The Major Christmas Primestock show for the West Country! As the event is run solely by the council members and all on a voluntary basis, there is a lot of work that we put into setting everything up before the event, as well as making sure everything goes smoothly on the day! I sponsor a trophy and rosettes for the best Blonde Sired Haltered animal at the show, as well as the South West Clubs donation of £50 to this winner. I set this up a few years ago to promote and encourage the blondes in the hope of getting them noticed more when used over a commercial herd.
As many of you will know, I am heavily involved in showing. I exhibit at as many shows as I can afford! I do this to promote the breed and have clearly proven, that the blondes can hold their own against any breed out there! If I am not exhibiting my own blondes then I can be found producing and showing other breeds for other breeders. This includes regularly attending the pedigree shows and sales. I feel this gives me an edge because I see first-hand what the other breed societies are doing! We need to keep up. In my opinion if we are offering animals for sale that come fully health tested, especially for TB, BVD, IBR, LEPTO, JOHNES and NEOSPORA we are finally on a level playing field. This also opens up the opportunity for joint shows and sales with other breeds thus enticing and selling to the commercial man and not just the select few pedigree buyers.
Last year I won the Landover and The Princes Countryside Funds bursary. This was for my work producing show cattle and running educational workshops which I do to help combat rural loneliness. Through this I have recently been invited to join the Future Farming Forum which is held by The Princes Countryside Fund and hosted by Aldi. In their words, ‘This event will bring together a diverse group of 30 exceptional young people from all types of farming and rural industries.’
With my place on this forum I hope to promote the blondes as well as aid the society with being at the top of the list for future premiums, partnerships and funding.
With all of the aforementioned, I feel that I will prove to be beneficial in advancing the breed, with new ideas whilst respecting the old. I am and will remain fully approachable at any time! I want to give the membership a voice so that we can all move forward together.