Holstein open day raises £30,000 for neonatal unit


open-day-2The Smyth family Mervyn, May, Gareth and Judith from Hillcrest Farm in Cloughmills hosted Holstein NI’s Family Open Day in aid of the Neonatal Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Holstein NI’s family open day, sponsored by LacPatrick and Ecosyl from Volac, was a great success. Hosted by the Smyth family’s Ballyweaney Herd at Cloughmills, the event attracted more than 1,500 people and has raised £30,000 for the Perinatal Trust Fund at the Royal Victoria Hospital’s Neonatal Unit.

Sponsor Nigel Kemp, Lacpatrick, is pictured at Holstein NI’s family open day with Jonathan McCaughan from Thompsons.

Club chairman Tommy Henry said: “We are delighted with the success of the event, and I’d like to thank the Smyth family, their friends, club members and all the volunteers who worked to contribute to the success of the open day. Thanks also to our sponsors LacPatrick and Ecosyl.

“The event was buzzing with trade stands, craft stalls, BBQ, live music, and a variety of amusements and activities for young children.”

Gareth and Judith Smyth’s twin sons Wallace and Austin were born almost 16 weeks premature and spent their first months in incubators in Intensive Care. It was a difficult time for the whole family, but thanks to the excellent facilities and specialist care provided by the medical professionals, they thrived and celebrated their first birthdays on New Year’s Day.

Host Gareth Smyth added: “We have been overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity and support. Donations are still coming in, but we are thrilled that the event has raised £30,000 for the Perinatal Trust Fund. The money will fund life-saving equipment and provide support for affected families.”

More than 60 items were donated to the charity auction conducted by Ballymena Mart auctioneer Foster Gowdy. Items included two heifer calves, boxing gloves signed by Carl Frampton, a tour of Westminster with a meal for four, and multiple lots of animal feed, dairy chemicals, and children’s ride-on toys.

open-day-73Open Day host May Smyth is pictured with Ian Olphert from Lacpatrick and John Foster from Castlederg.

Visitors also were able to test their stock judging skills by placing three classes of Holstein cattle – senior cows, junior cows and in-milk heifers. Master judge was Richard Graham from Gretna.

Lately members of the NI Holstein Young Breeders’ Club have been competing for a team place taking part at the parent society’s National Competitions Day in Cheshire on 1st July. Scores from two practice sessions and the Open Day final have been collated to determine the team members representing Northern Ireland.

They include:

Linear team: Brian Weatherup (junior), Desmond McCorry (intermediate), and James Weatherup (senior).

Stockjudging team: Brian Weatherup and Jack Orr (junior); Matthew McLean and William McCormick (intermediate); Robert Stewart and John McLean (senior).

Nicholas McCann from Bangor was the winner of the open category, and the runner-up was Richard Charles from Cookstown.