A west country auctioneer has been given the accolade of top graduating student at an agricultural university.

Stags auctioneer Harvey Pile has been recognised by the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) and Harper Adams University by being awarded the LAA Gavel for top graduating student.

Harvey comes from a family farm in east Devon. He excelled over the four-year course and achieved the overall best score of not only those in his year but also the highest average ever achieved in the ten years the Livestock Operations and Management course has been running.

The course aims to provide the bedrock of knowledge and skills needed by anybody aspiring to be competent in livestock auction practice. Having completed the course Harvey along with five other graduates have now been admitted as Fellows of the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association.

Having joined Stags at the age of 17 and with five years’ experience of auctioneering already under his belt the majority of his time is spent selling and assisting at Stags’ three markets, Tavistock Livestock Centre, South Molton Market and Honiton Collection Centre while also playing a growing role in their On Site & Online Timed Machinery Auctions.

He said: "The course has been a real eye opener for me and gave me the opportunity to mix with a large number of peers from across the country. The course tutors, content and execution was excellent and although studying alongside a full time job was challenging it has definitely given me worthy rewards.’"

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Chris Clapham, partner in charge of Stags agricultural sales said: "It has been noticeable how Harvey has developed and become more confident as he progressed through the course. I know he has worked extremely hard and the accolade of top graduating student is well deserved."