Meet Edie - the seven-year-old 'sheep whisperer' from Yorkshire

Todmorden Show is back again this month and one young girl will be hoping her sheep stand out from the crowd. Chris Berry reports.

Seven year old Edie King is already making a name for herself in the sheep showing world and her mum Amy, daughter of sheep farmer Nigel Pepper of Oxenhope, believes Edie’s inspiration has been the reintroduction of Todmorden Show, brought about by Littleborough sheep man Chris Adamson.

Todmorden Agricultural Show returns for its fourth year since being resurrected by Chris and his team at their now permanent home of the Riverside Centre on Rochdale Road, on Sunday 16 June and ‘Team Pepper’ will be back once again.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Edie has shown at the new Todmorden Show every year,” says Amy. “Edie shows in the young handlers competition and last year won the championship, and she also shows her own Derbyshire Gritstone sheep in every class from the big tups to the cheekiest tup lambs that won’t stand still because they want to get back to their mums in the sheep pens.

Experienced sheep showgirl, seven-year-old Edie Pepper with her Derbyshire Gritstone sheep. Picture Jonathan GawthorpeExperienced sheep showgirl, seven-year-old Edie Pepper with her Derbyshire Gritstone sheep. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Experienced sheep showgirl, seven-year-old Edie Pepper with her Derbyshire Gritstone sheep. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

“When she takes part in the young handlers’ competition she sometimes finds it really hard choosing what she’s going to take in because she takes her Derbyshire Gritstones, Badgerfaced Texels and her Ryelands. She’s that good with all her sheep she can handle anything.

“Edie just loves being with them. From being a toddler she’s been used to getting lambs to suck on a bottle, she’s helped with lambing and feeding the flock and always keeps our spirits up, mine and my dad’s. It’s a real family affair. Edie just wants to be with the sheep from morning ‘til night. She was born to be a sheep farmer, cares so much for their welfare and I think she’s like a sheep whisperer.

“She can come in and tell me ‘Mummy, that one’s lame, we need to get that one in’ and all she has to do is shout them and they all come running. She loves handling them, even the trickiest when they’re jumping up in the air.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Derbyshire Gritstones are a rare breed,” says Edie. “I like feeding them and helping at lambing time, but most of all breeding my own sheep. I’m looking for them to have a nice black and white face.

‘Everything is very family orientated,” says Amy. “Edie influences everything we do in showing. She loves washing their faces and legs to get them ready for shows and loves holding them in the classes.

“We’ve just gone through the worst lambing time we’ve ever had and Edie kept myself and her granddad going. She’d put lambs under wall bottoms and was saying ‘It’ll soon be springtime and we will be able to enjoy the lambs.’ Farming is hard work and long hours and I think it helps shape children. It certainly is doing so with Amy.

Amy farms with her father at Dodgson House Farm in Lothersdale where they have around 400 breeding ewes including Gritstones and a commercial flock of Mules crossed to the Texel.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We have 80 Gritstones having started with two,” says Amy. “I was at Clitheroe Auction on my birthday when dad said he’d buy something for it and bought me two. We’ve built them up since then because we want to keep the breed alive, and since then Edie has spurred us on. Edie took champion and reserve champion at Kilnsey last year and reserve champion at Keighley Show.

“I’ve always followed my dad’s footsteps in being hardworking, giving it your all and caring for your animals. We all work together. My dad also works as a drover at Skipton auction mart.

Chris Adamson says last year’s Todmorden Show was the best yet and he’s hoping that its year-on-year growth and success will carry on.

“It was brilliant last year. We had another recordbreaking entry of sheep with 250-plus and this year looks like beating that with classes for Derbyshire Gritstone, Lonk, Kerry Hill, Dorset, Suffolk and AOB Native & Continental. We had such good entries from Suffolks in the AOB Native that we’ve added their own class this year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We are gradually growing the show within the confines of how far we can go at the Riverside Centre, which has been so accommodating.

"This year we will also have a fun dog show with all sorts of prizes for everything from cutest puppy to the most appealing expression, in aid of PAWS Pennine Animal Welfare Society; alpacas; Shetland ponies; Jacaranda petting farm will be there; we will have our popular egg classes and we are delighted to have poultry back this year having not had that due to avian bird flu restrictions.

“We will also have fun rides and a photography competition. We really want Todmorden Show to be something for all the family and we offer free entry for any child under 16 accompanied by their parents.

"We’ve still got costs to cover but with the cost of living crisis we want it to be somewhere everyone can come and have a great day out, enjoy themselves and have a link to agriculture. It has all been really well received in the first three years.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chris helps manage his granddad’s farm just up the road in Littleborough, has his own flock of pedigree Kerry Hills on his smallholding, runs a marketing business working with photography and breed societies, and as part of his role with the National Sheep Association has recently taken over as Event Organiser for North Sheep, which takes place once again next year, this time at Greystoke Castle, near Penrith on 4 June 2025.

“It’s all exciting,” says Chris. “I’m still involved with membership of the NSA and working on North Sheep is just amazing, but what we have all achieved in bringing Todmorden Agricultural Show back has been equally amazing.

Todmorden Agricultural Show was held at Centre Vale Park in Todmorden for over a century until 2015 and attracted thousands. What Chris and his team have achieved in bringing back the show, having started purely with sheep classes, cannot be underestimated in its importance.

“For Edie it has encouraged her so much,” says Amy.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.