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25 March 2023

Farmer’s Unique Charity Cattle Herd Sells for £81,000

Benevolent farmer Emyr Wigley was delighted with the £81,000 raised by the sale of his unique charity herd of pedigree British Blue cattle at auction in Shrewsbury.

Emyr, 78, who lives at Deytheur, near Llansantffraid on the North Powys border with Shropshire, saw The Old Stackyard Blues closed breeding herd go under the hammer at Shrewsbury Auction Centre, where a top price of 5,400 guinneas was recorded for a cow and calf.

The herd was established in memory of his late, beloved wife Evelyn who died at the age of 69 from ovarian cancer in 2015.

Emyr’s cattle sold as part of an annual sale by auctioneers Halls of pedigree British Blues and commercial cattle. He received an ovation from the large crowd gathered around the sale ring before the first of his cattle were sold.

After losing his wife, Emyr immediately pledged to do something positive to raise awareness and educate people about ovarian cancer, which he describes as an “evil disease” as a tribute to her.

Because of the couple’s long connection with the farming community, he also wanted to support farmers in need.

Emyr Wigley and Laura Pritchard with representatives of Ovarian Cancer Action and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution

The Old Stackyard British Blues, established in 2016, was the only charity herd of its type in the UK, as all the money raised from the sale of the cattle over the past seven years has been shared between Ovarian Cancer Action and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).

Emyr had already raised nearly £122,000 for the charities before the sale and a further £300 was donated to the charities by JustGiving on Saturday morning.

Ovarian Cancer Action plans to fund a specialist researcher for an entire year with its share of the sale proceeds, which is a fitting tribute to Emyr’s wife, whom he lovingly refers to as Evie.

He sold up because he was seriously injured by one of his bulls whilst preparing it for a sale in Carlisle last month. He is lucky to be alive after the “spooked” bull crushed and trampled him, leaving him with a badly injured legs.

His niece, Laura Pritchard, who has helped with admin since the herd was established, rescued Emyr from the pen where he was grooming the bull.

“I was impressed with how the cattle sold and looked in the salering and hopefully the money will help a lot of people,” said Emyr, who thanked everyone who had helped him with the cattle since he was injured.

A cow and calf from The Old Stackyard Blues in the salering at a packed Shrewsbury Auction Centre

Philosophical about the sale of the herd, he added:

“If it hadn’t have been this year, it would probably have been next year. I was bit unfortunate to hurt myself but we have had seven years of pleasure from the cattle and have met some wonderfully generous people.”

Senior auctioneer and auction centre manager Jonny Dymond said the company was honoured to sell the herd and commended Emyr for their fundraising for charity.

“We had buyers from Scotland to Cornwall and so many cattle sold for wonderful prices,” he added. “We wish everybody all the best with their purchases and also wish Emyr and Laura all the best with the next part of their journey.”

Cary Wakefield, chief executive of Ovarian Cancer Action, said:

“It has been an absolute privilege and honour to be here to see what Emyr has done. He has turned something so devastating into something inspirational.

“To turn grief and personal bereavement into something so positive that others will benefit from is amazing. I am full of admiration for him.”

Kate Jones, regional manager for RABI in the West Midlands, said:

“Today has been absolutely amazing. With the support of Emyr and Laura we are going to be able to reach more people to expose them to the value of RABI and the services that we can provide. We are going to be transforming so many lives as a result of the funds raised.”

Emyr plans to spend his time writing the second book about his life, making oak furniture, working in his garden, which he opens for charity fundraising, after dinner speaking and cattle judging.

“I shall still be raising money for the charities but on a different scale,” he added.

To make a donation to Ovarian Cancer Action visit here

To donate to RABI visit here


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