This year's Holstein Young Breeders (HYB) Littlestar Award has been won by William Neale from Cornwall.

The Littlestar Award is presented to an HYB member aged 17 or under who has made an outstanding contribution to HYB, the Holstein breed and, in particular, their own club.

William lives near Launceston on a mixed beef and sheep farm. His interest in the dairy industry stems from a shared love of the dairy cow with his grandfather David Martin from the Elmford herd in Beaworthy. William started showing cattle at the age of eight and joined HYB in 2015. He continues to show and breed cattle with the WJH prefix, which he started in 2018, and his herd is kept on his grandfather's farm. He also has his own flock of Texel sheep and helps his dad with their pedigree Limousin and Aberdeen Angus herd.

William said: “I was really pleased to be nominated.

"I was shocked and delighted to have won and I would like to thank HYB as it has helped me gain so much knowledge from people within the industry.

"I have always loved dairy cattle, although we have none on our home farm. Even before I went to school, I spent time helping Gran and Grandad as a small boy.

"My first major accident was when I fell down the milking parlour steps smashing my glasses, but it did not put me off! My early childhood memory is of looking through semen catalogues with my grandad at the age of five. I still enjoy doing this today, spending a lot of time looking at bulls and discussing them with him – or anyone else who will listen!"

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Williams mum Jeanette Neale said: "Will has been hugely encouraged by Dawn Coryn and the Cornish Holstein club and their young people's group the HYB.

"He is fortunate that so many knowledgeable people have given their time, advice and encouragement. Through the support of Dawn and her team he began taking part in showing, stock judging, field to photo and other national events.

"The senior members of the team including Steven Harris and Cari Thomas have been massively supportive in helping Will develop his skills and to participate on a National level."

The winner of this prestigious award receives the Littlestar Painting, which is usually presented during the prize giving at the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show. Unfortunately this year's show was not able to take place due to Covid-19.

However, the awards were able to go ahead with virtual judging taking place. The Littlestar Award was judged by Michael Dennison (Semex national sales manager), Sarah Hartley and Stuart Roberts (NFU Deputy President).

Hannah Williams, head of events for Holstein UK said: "This year's winners are a real credit to the industry and we are immensely proud of how everyone is adapting to the current ways of operating whilst we deal with the impact of Covid-19. On behalf of the Holstein UK trustees, congratulations to William Neale.”