Southdown Duvets is a licensee of the British Wool Marketing Board. In that context, we have achieved something noteworthy in that, to my knowledge we are the first and only British Wool licensee holder to actively support the country’s sheep shearing community.
I am delighted to report that we are sponsoring Katie, a young shearer/farmer. Primarily this involves funding her shearing training course with British Wool. However, it also means working with her as she acquaints herself with the whole process of getting wool off a ewe, moving it to market and the consequential manufacturing pipeline which ensures that this miracle fibre is transformed into our dreamy duvets.
We intend to run this sponsorship on an annual basis; our way of acknowledging the skills and stamina needed to expertly and kindly provide us with the valuable fleeces, without which our business would just not exist. The fact that so many young women are now getting involved in shearing, which is physically an enormous challenge, makes my heart sing and my spirits soar. Ergo, it is our intention to make Katie the first of many.
So in the spring, I joined this year’s first British Wool’s shearing day to watch Katie get her initial training. Having watched my sheep being sheared annually for 13 years, I had never witnessed a technical explanation of what was going on. Truth be told, I came away in awe. What I had never appreciated is that every movement of the shearer, every transfer of weight and positioning of her feet, legs and shoulders relative to the sheep is critical in what, if done correctly, is actually an elegant, complex dance.
Next week, Katie and I will visit the South Molton wool depot, one of British Wool’s largest. There, we will see how the wool comes in, is graded, packed, logged and cored ready for sale and shipment. After that, Katie is off to New Zealand to continue gaining shearing experience on her relatives’ sheep farm. And Southdown Duvets wishes her well and a safe return to continue her training.
But we also wish other British Wool licensees would join us in investing in the next generation of skilled sheep shearers.