Welsh farmer develops new beef cattle

A farmer from Powys in mid-Wales has produced a new unique herd of beef cattle in memory of his late wife. 

Emyr Wigley developed the cows in honour of his wife, Evelyn, who passed away of cancer in 2015, aged 69.

The Old Stackyard British Blue herd has been created solely to raise funds for charities the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and Ovarian Cancer Action.

The Wigleys previously kept a small herd of British Blue cattle alongside a dairy herd. The widower Wigley decided to start another herd in his wife’s memory and started buying prime heifers from some of the UK’s top breeders.

“Evelyn and I built up a dairy herd with hard work and long hours,” he said. “Our plans for travel, our caravan holidays, and walking in the beautiful British countryside, loved by us both, were put on hold until our retirement.

“It was a devastating blow to learn, in the first few years of our retirement, that Evelyn had ovarian cancer. She was a special lady, kind, caring and multi-talented and, after a lifetime of work, the majority of her retirement years were stolen from her. Although tragically too late to help my dear Evelyn, I wanted to do something to help combat this evil disease as a tribute to my wife.”

While developing the new herd, Wigley received support from friends, businesses and the local community. The new herd is now kept in a purpose-built housing unit next to grassland paddocks.

Introducing the cows to the public, the farmer recently hosted an open evening, where attendees also got the opportunity to look around ‘Eve’s Garden’, a mix of flowers, fruit and vegetables kept in her name. Guests included ex-director general of the Confederation of British Industry and patron of Ovarian Cancer Action, Lord Digby-Jones, and Malcolm Thomas MBE, chairman of RABI.

“Emyr’s story – and his commitment to both us and Ovarian Cancer Action – is remarkable,” commented Becky Davies, RABI regional manager for North Wales.

“We’ve already received a cheque for £1,072. At the open evening, a young local singer called Megan Keaveny performed one of Eve’s favourite songs, Coat of Many Colors [Dolly Parton], I’m sure Eve would be very proud of everything that Emyr has achieved in her honour.”

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