Rugby star Billy Whizz gets the sheep bug

England rugby union and rugby league Jason Robinson has ventured into sheep farming following his retirement from competitive rugby last year.


A group of farmers belonging to the Shropshire Sheep Breeders’ Association  has helped international rugby star, Jason Robinson OBE, to start his own pedigree sheep flock. 


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The unusual sponsorship offer was accepted by the sporting legend five months ago, but delivery of the sheep was delayed until bluetongue animal movement restrictions were lifted. Ten pedigree Shropshire ewes and a ram lamb were, however, finally delivered to Jason’s farm in Lancashire last weekend (Saturday 4 October). They are the first farm livestock to be owned by the sportsman, who retired from International Rugby after the world cup final last year.


The sheep were supplied by Peter and Pippa Geddes from Montford Bridge, Shropshire; Barry Hodson from Croft, Cheshire; Graham and Claire Jakeman from Thornton-Le-Moors, Cheshire;  Les and Tricia Newman from Carleton Rode, Norfolk; Paul and Alison Schofield from Sproston Green, Cheshire; Richard and Rosemary Spencer from Alkmonton, Derbyshire and Aubrey and Marion Webb from Gilmorton, Leicestershire.


The Shropshire breeders decided to offer Jason a small flock of pedigree sheep after he announced his intention to take up farming at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards in 2007. They were surprised and delighted when the offer was accepted, explains the breed society’s Publicity Officer, Pippa Geddes. 


 “When we heard that Jason and his family were going to start farming in the north west, we thought Shropshires would be the ideal breed because they are docile and easy to manage.   Shropshires are also very adaptable and do well in a range of different conditions. We didn’t know the Robinsons’ address, so we wrote to Jason’s club – Sale Sharks – and asked that they forward the letter. A few weeks later, I had a surprise phone call from the man himself. He must receive a lot of sponsorship offers, but he was genuinely delighted by the idea of receiving a small flock of Shropshire sheep.”