BLAISE Tomlinson, owner of the pedigree Sandyford herd of Ayrshire cows in Loughborough, was awarded the 2020 John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award at Borderway UK Dairy Expo in Carlisle.

The award recognises a dairy cattle breeder who is a high achiever and exemplary role model within the sector.

Announcing this year’s winner, Harrison & Hetherington’s Auctioneer, Glyn Lucas, said: "With so many tremendous nominations, judging and choosing the recipient really is a challenging task. However, in the end it was a unanimous decision to award it to Blaise Tomlinson who had received numerous impassioned nominations.

"These demonstrated his dedication to his family farm and herd, the dairy industry and supporting the next generation as a mentor to and educator of young farmers. He was notably described by his daughter as: 'A man who definitely lives and breathes farming.'"

Mr Tomlinson has farmed all his life. His father, Eric, started the Sandyford Ayrshire herd 50 years ago and Blaise joined him at home after leaving school.

Since 2007, he has farmed 400 head of pedigree Ayrshire cattle at Charnwood Forest Farm, near Loughborough, and is one of the most highly regarded Ayrshire breeders in the World.

His Sandyford herd has many show winning cows and heifers which consistently win at shows across the UK. One of his most well-known red and white cows is Sandyford Clover 10. Her own show success and that of many winning offspring include a granddaughter which set an Ayrshire breed record at the Black & White sale in December when she sold for 14,000gns.

Mr Tomlinson's many nominations included countless accounts of his support of young farmers - helping them get their animals to show, holding Ayrshire rallies at his farm and helping to organise both the Ayrshire and Holstein National Young Members Weekend.

In support of the next generation of enthusiastic farmers, he currently houses various cows for families that don’t have the facilities but want to learn more about the business. For many years he has also sent some of the best cows to the National Ayrshire show to be prepared and shown by the young breeders within the society.

He is also a long-standing respected judge, travelling all over the world.

On receiving the award from the Dennison family, Mr Tomlinson said: "To be named in the same breath as John Dennison is a massive honour. John was a fantastic fella who was lost to this industry far too early.

"Looking at the list of all the previous winners, they were all great men of the dairy industry who won previously. All have the same interest - all love dairy cows, all love milk producers, all love showing cows and being part of the showing world."