Arthur Jones; he's quite an eminent figure in shepherding circles.
And how old is he, being the youngest shepherd in Britain?
Arthur is two years old. He hails from Dorset and has been herding and caring for his flock of six pedigree sheep for some time now. His first word was “baa” and he is the youngest ever member of the Poll Dorset and Dorset Horn Sheep Breeders’ Association, having won three coveted prizes in county shows.
That’s impressive. What drew him to this outdoorsy lifestyle?
That would be Twinkle the sheep. Born prematurely in April, Twinkle spent seven weeks in intensive care and was seriously underweight. Arthur himself was born two and a half months prematurely and has cerebral palsy. After Twinkle was rejected by her mother, Arthur volunteered to hand-rear her and began feeding her from a bottle. A bond quickly developed between the two and they soon became inseparable.
What does Twinkle make of all of this?
It seems Twinkle has an instinctive understanding of Arthur’s needs and revels in his companionship. Doctors had initially warned Arthur’s parents that he would not walk until he was four but this September he took his first steps alongside his trusty four-legged friend. If he stumbles and falls, Twinkle understands that he is not able to get up unaided so she walks over to him and lets him get to his feet using her as support.
What does the New Year hold for this dynamic duo?
Well, Twinkle, along with the rest of the herd – Treacle, Teasel, Lucy, Sooty and Sweep – is prospering, which means that Arthur may wish to invest in a larger pen to accommodate his expanding flock; it has already produced two sets of ewes. But hopefully he will find the time to relax with his contemporaries in front of Peppa Pig, now and then.