Fond farewell on retirement

Retiring British Blue Cattle Society secretary John Fleming with the special King's Hall photograph presented by NI breeders. At the presentation in Carlisle were, from left, Alan Cleland, Downpatrick, Jim Sloan, Kilkeel, Katherine Fleming, Robert Johnston, Belfast, Conn Williamson and John McAlister of Crumlin.

Retiring British Blue Cattle Society secretary John Fleming with the special King's Hall photograph presented by NI breeders. At the presentation in Carlisle were, from left, Alan Cleland, Downpatrick, Jim Sloan, Kilkeel, Katherine Fleming, Robert Johnston, Belfast, Conn Williamson and John McAlister of Crumlin.

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John Fleming, a good friend of breeders in NI, recently retired after 16 successful years at the helm of the British Blue Cattle Society.

To mark his retirement the NI British Blue Cattle Club made a special presentation to John during a farewell dinner in Carlisle for this progressive and popular breed secretary.

Born during the last years of the Empire in India where his father was a forester John was for many years a lecturer at Newton Rigg Agricultural College near Penrith, Cumbria.

Making the presentation on behalf of NI breeders former Society President Conn Williamson of Crumlin paid tribute to John’s success in helping make the Blue the nation’s ultimate terminal beef sire.

He noted that John had brought tremendous drive, energy and good humour to giving breeders the professional support they needed as Blues became the premier breed for dairy and suckler herd owners adding value to their calf crop. That British Blue bred calves, stores and finished cattle now top marts across the country demonstrates that the right beef breed had the right man in charge.

Always known for his willingness to adopt new technology, often in conjunction with other breed societies, John is now devoting more time to his own rural interests and love of cars.

Clearly the NI Club presentation of John silhouetted against the King’s Hall proved apt in bringing back memories of many Balmoral Show successes.

In closing Conn Williamson also recalled how very successfully John and colleagues meticulously planned the 2011 World Congress of Belgian Blue Breed Societies in Wales and the Welsh Marches.