Powys farmer Emyr wigley has developed a unique herd of British Blue cattle in memory of his late wife, Evelyn. The old stackyard British Blue herd will exist solely to raise funds for two charities close to Emyr’s heart, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and ovarian Cancer Action. RABI is farming’s oldest and largest welfare charity, which gives £2m per year to farming people in financial hardship.
Before their retirement, the wigleys, from Llansantffraid, used to keep a small herd of British Blue cattle alongside a dairy herd. Following Evelyn’s death, Emyr decided to start another herd in her memory and began buying prime heifers from some of the UK’s top breeders.
“Evelyn and I built up a dairy herd with hard work and long hours. our plans for travel, our caravan holidays, and walking in the beautiful British countryside loved by us both were put on hold until our retirement.
“It was a devastating blow to learn in the first few years of our retirement, that Evelyn had ovarian cancer. she was a very special lady, kind, caring and multi-talented and after a lifetime of work the majority of her retirement years were stolen from her. whilst tragically too late to help my dear Evelyn, I wanted to do something to help combat this evil disease as a tribute to my wife.”
The couple had sold their farm and built a house for their retirement, whilst keeping some land. However, Evelyn’s cancer diagnosis changed everything and sadly she passed away in october 2015, aged 69.
In order to develop his new herd Emyr had to start again, but he has received tremendous support from friends, businesses and the local community. The herd is accommodated in a purpose-built housing unit next to grassland paddocks.
Emyr recently hosted an open farm evening, giving the public an opportunity to view the stunning heifers and calves. People also got a chance to look around ‘Eve’s garden’, a delightful mix of flowers, fruit and vegetables, designed by Emyr and lovingly maintained in his wife’s name.
Lord Digby-Jones, ex-director general of the CBI and patron of ovarian
Cancer Action, was guest speaker at the open evening, which was also attended by Malcolm Thomas MBE, chairman of RABI.
RABI regional manager for North wales, Becky Davies said: “Emyr’s story – and his commitment to both us and ovarian Cancer Action – is remarkable. we’ve already received a cheque for £1,072. At the open evening a young local singer called Megan Keaveny performed one of Eve’s favourite songs ‘Coat of Many Colours’. I’m sure Eve would be very proud of everything that Emyr has achieved in her honour.”