MEMBERS of the Devon Closewool Sheep Breeders gathered at Filleigh Village Hall on Friday for their 90th annual dinner and dance, and to present the year's trophies to their winners.
More than 80 people heard society president Ron Smith thank members for creating such a good shop window for the breed by exhibiting in the year's agricultural shows and he singled out Jim Ley for his encouragement in helping others to present the sheep successfully.
Guest speaker Senior Lecturer at Bournemouth University Sean Beer talked of his upbringing in North Devon as the son of Albert Beer, and the importance of agriculture in times of rapid population growth.
"I really believe we're at a special point in history and people will come back and listen to those who know so much about producing food.
"Farming has a great future and we have to show young people that good future," he said.
Breed chairman Ray Kingdon congratulated those who helped to highlight Devon Closewools during the year, recognising the rapid growth in the number of young handlers taking part.
He also thanked new secretary Andy Lane and Gina Lane for helping to strengthen the society and "bringing it into the 21st century".
Trophies for 2013 were presented by Mrs Beer to: Maurice Scott (Kift Cup, Jo Bazeley Trophy and Edwin Bulled Memorial Trophy); Ronald Nicholls and Richard Clarke (Fulford Phillips Cup and Brian Kent-Smith Memorial Trophy); Toby Boyles (Nicholls Family Trophy for Young Handler of Year, accepted by Mr Boyles); Daniel Nicholls (Arthur Dallyn Memorial Cup); and to Leonard Richards (Mid Devon Show Champion).
Winner of the Chairman's Prize and other cups, Mrs Hazel Marks, from Surrey, was unable to attend.
She wrote to thank her colleagues and the breeders for their help and support in her showing career.