Culm Valley YFC's James Westcott and Stuart Persey undertook a mammoth 24 hour Shearathon last week, raising a huge £20,150 for MS Society UK.

James, 26, and Stuart, 27, started at 7pm and finished the following day at 7pm, shearing an impressive 1135 sheep in total.

The pair alternated the shearing every hour so that they both did 13 hours each throughout the 24 hours. This year Stuart has taken on the role of Chairman for Culm Valley YFC and James is chairman for East Devon YFC having previously been chairman for Culm Valley.

They were both brought up in Devon around the Cullompton area. Stuart has lived and worked on the family dairy farm since college and, likewise, James has always worked at home on his beef and sheep farm.

Both James and Stuart have always kept sheep and learnt to shear them themselves rather than pay contractors. Stuart started shearing for Gavin Stevens. (a local contractor). at the age of 17. and then went out to New Zealand at the age of 21 to work for a gang for three months to push his shearing skills.

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Over the last few years James has started up his own successful contract shearing business.

Stuart said: "Although it’s hard work we both seem to use it as a holiday to get us out and away from home for a day!"

"We chose the MS society as a close friend had recently been diagnosed with MS and also we knew quite a few local people with the disease.

"I have always talked to my parents about maybe doing a shearing event and, as this year was my year as chairman to organise a charity event, I decided this marathon would be a good idea. Luckily James agreed to do it with me!

"We were overwhelmed with the amount of support we had even through the night. We couldn’t have been happier with the turn out and the atmosphere was totally amazing!! The support from all our members and the parents and advisory was fantastic with everyone pulling together to make it such a memorable event.

"There were times we both struggled to keep going, the lack of sleep does play it’s toll, but with the support we had from everyone and knowing it was for a good cause it kept us going.

"It was the most exhausting and emotional thing I’ve ever done but also the most rewarding, which made it all worth it.

"In total we made £20,150 for our chosen charity - truly unbelievable, and our huge thanks to everyone’s generosity."

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