Ribble Valley youngster James (three) crowned supreme champion

Hayley Baines with James Moorhouse and the champion.
Hayley Baines with James Moorhouse and the champion.

A three-year-old boy owned the supreme champion heifer shown by his mother at Skipton Auction Mart’s Christmas prime cattle show and sale – the annual high profile highlight attended by independent retail butchers and meat wholesalers again seeking top quality beef for their customers’ Christmas tables.

Young James Moorhouse, accompanied by mum Hayley Baines, of Lower Middop Farm, Gisburn, first won the young handlers show class with a 600kg Blonde-cross heifer, before seeing it progress to first become champion female, then overall supreme champion at the fixture, which again marked the culmination of the mart’s primestock year.

James was born and bred into farming, and has been attending the auction mart with his mother since being a babe in arms – he was one of the participants in the annual young handlers’ prime lambs show at Skipton in July – also taking a keen interest at home in both cattle and sheep. His father, Thomas Moorhouse, runs Moorhouse Agricultural Contractors in Gisburn.

The supreme champion, also recipient of the Alf Lister Trophy, was bred in North Craven by Austwick mother and son, Janet and James Huck, and acquired by the Baines family at Skipton earlier this year.

It then went on to command top price by far in the sale ring when knocked down for a new record high Christmas show price of £4,857, or £8.10 per kilo, to D&S White Butchers in Marple, Stockport.

It was the first time the small independent family-run butchers had bought cattle at Skipton and owner Richard White, accompanied by shop manager Alex Sweet, said they had been attracted by the excellent quality of the cattle on offer.

As well as the overall show victor, White’s Butchers also claimed two other rosette winners – the third prize British Blue-cross heifer, again from Hayley Baines at £2,483, or £4.39 per kilo, along with the runner-up in the same show class, another Blue-cross heifer from Clare Cropper and John Mellin, of Mill House Farm, Long Preston, at £1,796, or 294.5p/kg.

The meat from all three cattle will be fully matured and prepared in readiness for the Christmas trade. “We wanted something really special to give back to our customers to thank them for shopping with us throughout the year,” said Mr White, who took over the reins of the Market Street shop a decade ago from his butcher father David, who had himself bought the business in 1976.

Hayley Baine’s brother Paul, who is also based at Little Middop Farm, Gisburn, clinched both the championship and reserve championship with a brace of home-breds, the former with a 665 British Blue-cross heifer also claimed by Kitson & Sons Butchers at £1,925, or 289.5p/kg, the latter with a 685kg Limousin-cross steer that became another K Littleworth & Sons buy at £1,772, or 251.5p/kg.