Historic Fatstock show defies the snowfall

Sarah Wareham and her winning animal at Wednesday's event
Sarah Wareham and her winning animal at Wednesday's event

EASTBOURNE hotelier and farmer Sheikh Abid Gulzar led the bidding at Hailsham’s historic Fatstock show on Wednesday – snapping up prize-winning beef and lamb for his hotel menus.

Mr Gulzar, chairman of the Lion Hotels Group, paid £3,175 for the 635 kilo Belgian Blue Cross bull reared by top breeders Jason and Sarah Wareham of Heathfield – who took the prize for the supreme champion for the fourth year running.

He also bought six other class winning cattle - three Sussex, a Welsh Black, a French Charolais and a French Limousin - together with 12 Texel champion fat sheep.

His purchases will grace the menus at his four seafront hotels in Eastbourne over the next few months.

This year was the 169th fatstock show at Hailsham, the last remaining location in the county for the traditional pre-Christmas sale.

Heavy snowfall saw a drop in entrants this year as farmers from surrounding areas battled against the cold weather to take part in the event.

Geoff Brain, pictured right, from Brain’s Butchers in Lower Willingdon helped out with the judging on the day and stepped in to judge the lamb category after the original judge was snowed in.

He said, “I’m looking for confirmation or the shape of the animal - for example nice long legs where the expensive cuts predominate.

“You need something with a bit of fat although it has been unfashionable in the last few years,” he added.

Other winners on the day included Robert Pomfert from Thorndean Farms in Cowbeech who was awarded the Reserve Supreme Champion prize for his Limousin Steer, while Anne Harris from the Hackhurst Lane piggery was presented with the prize for the heaviest sow, Sabrina, who tipped the scales at a whopping 359 kilos.

Show secretary Sally Habberfield said, “Exhibitors were very pleased with the prices realised on the day.

“It was a really good atmosphere and I thank everybody for coming as it was a real struggle.

“I also want to say a big thank you to all the sponsors of the different classes because without them there would have been no show,” she added.