A WELSH sheep industry stalwart has been recognised for her outstanding contribution.

Helen Roberts, from Selattyn, received the 2021 National Sheep Association’s prestigious George Hedley Memorial Award.

A popular and authoritative figure, Helen farms with her husband, Clive, and also runs the Horton flock of Suffolk sheep with her father, John Pryce. She organises the biennial Welsh Sheep, as well as the flagship NSA Sheep Event in Malvern, and is NSA Cymru/Wales regional development officer and corporate sales manager.

Clive and Helen keep 500 Welsh Mules, Texel and Beltex cross ewes in addition to small pedigree flocks of Beltex and Blue Faced Leicesters.

Her long association with the industry has also involved wide-ranging commitments and activities on several committees, including as a director of Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers.

She said: “Throughout my time working for NSA and the wider sheep industry, I have always held the George Hedley award in the highest regard for the very high calibre individuals who have been recognised in the past. Therefore, I am extremely honoured to be named as the latest recipient, which enhances the award I received in 2016 when I became the first lady to win the John Gittins Memorial Award.

“I see the UK sheep industry and those that support me and NSA as part of a big family that has an integral part to play in the wider social, economic stability of the UK’s rural communities.

"Although I have my name on the award, without the support of the industry to myself and NSA, this would not have been possible Thank you all for that support.”

Devolution and increased activity in Wales has meant Helen has taken on a stream of topics and challenges with confidence, placing NSA in high regard in Wales. She has organised NSA’s flagship Sheep Event for the past decade, more recently contending with delays presented by Covid-19.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker added: “The George Hedley award is a really prestigious recognition of outstanding contribution to the sheep industry in the UK.

"I’m delighted that Helen received nominations from more than one source and that the selection panel clearly voted Helen as the 2021 winner. She clearly lives and breathes sheep farming and is actively involved in so many different aspects of our industry. She now joins a long and very worthy list of recipients who will, I’m sure, welcome her to their ranks.”

The formal presentation of the George Hedley award will be with Helen’s many friends and colleagues from the industry at the NSA Sheep Event dinner on Tuesday, July 26 2022, ahead of the association’s flagship event at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire.