Great Yorkshire Show: We need a new generation of pig breeders says chef Worrall Thompson

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CELEBRITY CHEF Antony Worrall Thompson has called for a new generation of pig breeders to come forward to help bolster the nation’s pig industry.

The restaurateur, television presenter and radio broadcaster was at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate yesterday when he made an impassioned plea for more people to get involved in pig breeding.

Library picture

Library picture

Mr Worrall Thompson is the patron of the Middle White Pig Breeders’ Club, and presented the prizes to the Champion of Champions at the Great Yorkshire Show yesterday.

He said: “People now want to eat the best produce which is available, but they can play their part too. We need more breeders to come on board, and take it up as a hobby.

“The perception of pigs is completely wrong; they are not messy and they are extremely friendly and easy to get to know.

“We need to be looking to producing pork and ham that is of the quality of other countries such as Spain, and looking to see what they are doing that we are not.

“We should be proud to be British and of our food.

“There has been a lazy attitude to our pork over the last 40 or years while we were in Europe as it was cheaper to import a lot of the meat, but now we are on out way out we should be celebrating the best which Britain has to offer.”

Mr Worrall Thompson’s love of the Middle White breed was sparked when his wife, Jacinta, bought him two of the pigs 15 years ago, and while he currently does not keep any of the animals, he still keeps close links with the breeders club.

Brian Merry, from Delamere in Cheshire, who has been breeding pigs for nearly 10 years, yesterday won both the Supreme and Reserve titles.

Pinehurst Fairlady 19 took the top prize, while Alma Rose 11 was given the reserve title.

Mr Merry, who has four sows and two boars, said: “It is brilliant, and while I have won three reserve titles at shows around the country this year, the Great Yorkshire Show really is the ultimate prize.”