After several years during which he made only rare appearances in the showring, Hillsborough breeder Mr William A Bell celebrated his “comeback” in grand style at a show and sale of pedigree Border Leicesters held at Balmoral by the Ulster Ram Breeders’ Association during this week in 1970.
Mr Bell brought out the supreme champion of the show, a ram lamb which collected no less than three trophies, the Allam Cup, the McIlmoyle Cup and the Challenge Cup.
Runner-up for all three awards was a ram lamb from the flock of Mr Samuel Holden, Ballygowan, Ballynure.
It was reported that there could have been few more popular winners of the award than the Hillsborough man, one of Ulster’s leading Border Leicester breeders for many years and immediately judge Mr Roy Hughes of Oswestry, Shropshire, came to his decision Mr Bell was beseiged with congratulations of his fellow breed enthusiasts.
For Mr Bell, a past winner of the championship award, it was like old times again.
Mr Hughes has no hesitation in selecting Mr Bell’s first prizewinning ram lamb as the show champion. He said afterwards: “This sheep would not have been out of place in Lanark. He is a fine example of the breed.”
The shearling cup went to a ewe shown by “veteran” Dromara breeder Mr James H Aiken while the Anderson Cup for the best female went to the Dromara partnership of Messrs Graham and McCrum.
Mr Robert Mulligan of Brague, Corbet, Banbridge, collected the Helmatac tankard for the best group of three.
Special awards: Supreme champion and Allam, McIlmoyle and Challenge Cups - William A Bell, Fruithill, Hillsborough; reserve, Samuel Holden, Ballygowan, Ballynure.
Shearling Cup - James H Aiken, Carnew, Dromara.
Anderson Cup - Graham McCrum, Tullyvallen House, Tillyniskey Dromara.
Helmatac tankard - Robert Mulligan, Brague, Corbet, Banbridge.
Class awards: Shearling ram - 1 and 4, J H McConnell, Cavanhill, Rathfriland; 2, reserve and highly commended, Robert Mulligan, Brague, Corbet, Banbridge; 3 and commended, J B Kirkpatrick, Boardmills, Lisburn.
Ram lamb - 1, William A Bell, Fruithill, Hillsborough; 2, Samuel Holden, Ballygowan, Ballynure; 3, Alexander Minnis, Mossvale, Tullynagee, Comber; reserve, T and J Horner, Coach Road, Comber; highly commended, J H McConnell; commended, Graham and McCrum, Tullyvalen House, Tullyniskey, Dromara.
Ewe, any age - 1 and 3, James H Aiken, Carnew, Dromara; 2 and 4, Robert Mulligan.
Ewe lamb - 1 and 3 Graham and McCrum; 2, Samuel Black, Cashlandhu, Portstewart; 4, Eric Wright, Ballywillwill House, Castlewellan; reserve, Robert Mulligan; highly commended, James H Aiken.
Group of three - 1, Robert Mulligan; 2, William White, Dunlady, Dundonald; 3, Alexander Minnis; reserve, Samuel Black; highly commended, J H McConnell; commended, Samuel Holden.
Meanwhile at the sale which followed the show held at Balmoral by the Ulster Ram Breeders’ Association, a third prizewinner ram lamb entered Mr Alexander Minnis of Mossvale, Tullynagee, Comber, realised the highest price of 115 guineas.
The buyer was Mr James Mawhinney of Crossnamuckley, Newtownards.
Next best price of 105 guineas was paid for a ram lamb which won a reserve class rosette for Messrs T and J Horner, Comber. The purchaser was Mr P J Lombard of Ballyhooley, Co Cork.
Hillsborough breeder Mr William A Bell’s supreme champion ram lamb was knocked down for 100 guineas to Mr H A Lusby of Waterside, Londonderry.
Prices were well up on the previous year’s sale, it was also noted that the sale was attended by several Eire buyers.
The show judge, Mr Roy Hughes of Oswestry, Shropshire, bought six animals and a Welsh breeder, Mr Don Wrench of Mold Flintshire, purchased a ram lamb for 50 guineas entered by Mr William White of Dundonald.