Alison Schofield has become the SSBA’s new President. She took over the important role of heading up our breed society when Barry Hodson completed his term of office at the November 2019 Council meeting.
Alison and her husband, Paul, farm 30 acres near Holmes Chapel in Cheshire. They are two of the SSBA’s longest serving members, having established their Hornpipe flock (flock letters FN) in 1988. Alongside the flock of Shropshires, the Schofields have also run Dexter and Angus beef suckler cows, although they now concentrate on the sheep flock, which currently numbers 40 ewes.
Alison has been the Registrar of the breed society since 1993, designing and running the first ever registration software that the society continued to use until 2015 when the SSBA made the switch to the current Grassroots system. All sheep registration work was carried out by Alison for 21 years, and she somehow managed to find time to run this as well as her full-time “day job” as IT Manager for BAe Systems, working on the Nimrod programme at BAE Woodford. In recognition of Alison’s work, she was awarded Life Membership of the SSBA in 2004.
As well as issuing the pedigree cards and the society’s flock returns, Alison also began producing the SSBA’s Annual Flock Book. This year’s edition will be her 25th.
Since taking early retirement and voluntary redundancy when the government scrapped the Nimrod project at BAe Systems, Alison started a rosette business, also producing small scale promotion material and printed active clothing for the dog agility community, along with hosting dog events at the farm. She can claim to have supplied rosettes for Olympia and the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Even the Queen has one of her rosettes, making a point of telling the organisers of that section at Windsor that it was one of the nicest rosettes she has! Alison also has competitors at Crufts wearing her printed clothes.
Since ‘retiring’, Alison has also bred three litters of Border Collies with three dogs now competing at Championship, the highest level in agility, and one having competed at Crufts in Obedience. Her aim is to get a dog up to Championship level and her dog, Jet, is not far off. Alison also has a season ticket at Leeds United, loves heavy metal music and she and Paul have a small collection of classic cars.
Alison says “I want to really push the Shropshire’s versatility along with being ‘Tree Friendly’. Shropshires are a low input breed, not only in terms of the ratio of corn in to meat out, but also the easy lambing, milkiness and good mothering instinct of the ewes; the ‘get up and go’ of the lambs, and with the ever busier lifestyles we live, the lack of need to be forever trimming feet has to be a huge asset.”