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‘Inspirational’ farmer raises £81,000 from sale of charity cattle herd set up in memory of his wife

07 Mar 2023 4 minute read
A cow and calf from The Old Stackyard Blues in the salering at Shrewsbury Auction Centre.

A retired dairy farmer from Powys has sold his unique charity cattle herd and donated the proceeds to  Ovarian Cancer Action and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) charities.

Emyr Wigley, 78, who lives at Deytheur, near Llansantffraid on the north Powys border with Shropshire, saw The Old Stackyard Blues closed breeding herd go under the hammer at Shrewsbury Auction Centre at the weekend for £81,000, with the top price of 5,400 guineas achieved for a cow and calf.

The herd was established in memory of his late wife Evelyn who died at the age of 69 from ovarian cancer in 2015.

After losing his wife, Emyr immediately pledged to do something positive to raise awareness and educate people about ovarian cancer, which he describes as an “evil disease”.

Because of the couple’s long connection with the farming community, he also wanted to support farmers in need.

The Old Stackyard British Blues, established in 2016, was the only charity herd of its type in the UK, and all the money raised from the sale of the cattle over the past seven years has been shared between Ovarian Cancer Action and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).

Emyr and his late wife Evelyn Wigley

Emyr had already raised nearly £122,000 for the charities before the sale and a further £300 was donated to the charities by JustGiving on Saturday morning.

Ovarian Cancer Action plans to fund a specialist researcher for an entire year with its share of the sale proceeds, which is a fitting tribute to Emyr’s wife, whom he lovingly refers to as Evie.

Seriously injured

He sold up because he was seriously injured by one of his bulls whilst preparing it for a sale in Carlisle last month.

He is lucky to be alive after the “spooked” bull crushed and trampled him, leaving him with badly injured legs.

His niece, Laura Pritchard, who has helped with admin since the herd was established, rescued Emyr from the pen where he was grooming the bull.

“I was impressed with how the cattle sold and looked in the sale ring and hopefully the money will help a lot of people,” said Emyr, who thanked everyone who had helped him with the cattle since he was injured.

Philosophical about the sale of the herd, he added: “If it hadn’t have been this year, it would probably have been next year. I was bit unfortunate to hurt myself but we have had seven years of pleasure from the cattle and have met some wonderfully generous people.”


Cary Wakefield, chief executive of Ovarian Cancer Action, said: “It has been an absolute privilege and honour to be here to see what Emyr has done. He has turned something so devastating into something inspirational.

“To turn grief and personal bereavement into something so positive that others will benefit from is amazing. I am full of admiration for him.”

Kate Jones, regional manager for RABI in the West Midlands, said: “Today has been absolutely amazing. With the support of Emyr and Laura we are going to be able to reach more people to expose them to the value of RABI and the services that we can provide. We are going to be transforming so many lives as a result of the funds raised.”

Emyr plans to spend his time writing the second book about his life, making oak furniture, working in his garden, which he opens for charity fundraising, after dinner speaking and cattle judging.

“I shall still be raising money for the charities but on a different scale,” he added.

To make a donation to Ovarian Cancer Action, go here………

To donate to RABI, go here……

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1 year ago

The name Deytheur is a blatant bastardisation of the old Welsh name Deuddwr. It’s as if someone decided to replace Llanfyllin with Thlanvuthlinne, just to make it easier for monoglots to pronounce.

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