Shock as young Yorkshire Dales farmer and new mother dies suddenly aged just 26

The Dales farming community is in shock after the sudden death of a 26-year-old stockwoman who had recently had her first child.

Hannah Brown and her father Martin at Masham Sheep Fair

Hannah Brown died in Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle after suffering a short but unspecified illness in late March,

The former Bedale High School pupil grew up in Newton-le-Wilows, near Leyburn, where her parents Martin and Val farm sheep and cattle.

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Two years ago she moved to Cumbria to be nearer to her partner Ben Richardson's family farm, and she gave birth to their daughter Millie last August.

Hannah was well-known in farming circles as she had shown livestock at agricultural shows across the region, including the Great Yorkshire.

She exhibited her first sheep when she was just two years old and won her first class, at Ryedale Show, aged three.

She was a member of several stock societies including the Northern Beltex Club and British Limousin Cattle Society.

Her family were regular class champions at the Great Yorkshire Show and she also held the record for the only person to ever win the Young Handler classes in both cattle and sheep at the Countryside Live event.

She was also a former chair of Winskley-cum-Grantley Young Farmers Club.

Hannah and Ben had postponed their wedding at St Cuthbert's Church in her fiance's home village of Dufton, near Appleby, due to the pandemic and her funeral will now take place there instead.

Family tributes refer to her strength of character - she dipped 800 sheep just a month after Millie's birth - and her skills as a trainer of gundogs.

The Hawes branch of the North of England Mule Sheep Association said: “The sad news of the passing of Hannah Brown has sent shockwaves not just through the farming but the whole community this last week.

“Hannah was raised up full of NEMSA. Her mum Val was branch secretary and dad Martin branch chairman, Hannah from a young age loved the mule sheep, showing her parents' sheep and grandad's, then buying and showing her own with great success.

“All our deepest thoughts go out to all Hannah’s family and friends at this sad time. Hannah you were truly one in a million.”

The Northern Beltex Club added: “A life of a young lady taken far too early who frankly could have achieved anything and who has many achievements already under her belt that some could only dream of.

“Her love for sheep and cattle was second to none and her stockmanship skills just some of the best. Her smiling face, loud shout and willingness to help anyone will be missed forever."