The patience, humour and attentiveness of her trainer were a big factor in her success according to Lantra Cymru Award winner, Helen Hall.

A latecomer to farming, Helen was runner-up in the Lifelong Learner of the Year Award 2021 for over-40s.

A Londoner and Greek Cypriot by birth, Helen had no previous experience of farming or country life.

Iinterestingly enough, though, her mother had worked as a shepherdess during her childhood in Cyprus, earning much needed cash to help send the younger siblings to school.

When she and husband, Barry, took on a 45-acre holding at Rhydlewis in west Wales four years ago, it was a later life project, primarily to accommodate his passion for Welsh Cobs.

They took Reserve Supreme in Harness at the Royal Welsh Show in 2016. Then came the sheep, and a whole lot of learning!

She now has 74 ewes, comprising Suffolks Xs, polled Dorsets, Llanwenog and Torwen. She also has three rams and ‘a fine lot of lambs’. Her progress has been phenomenal, since three years ago she thought it was simply a matter of buying sheep and letting them ‘munch grass’.

The ewe lambs are generally kept as replacements. The wether lambs are sold privately and also go into the family freezer. She also enjoys taking some to market. It’s all part of the community spirit and open hearted life she loves so much.

The judges said that, despite being new to farming, Helen showed impressive determination to gain the essential skills and knowledge. She puts this into practice every day to run her successful smallholding in an efficient and sustainable manner.

She says she is ‘so chuffed’ to have achieved runner-up and says the lambing course, run by Dr Sotirios Karvountzis, was a turning point in her farming journey. And she is proud that she can now lamb even the most difficult births, unaided and with complete confidence.

They lamb early. This year, the only two lambs she has lost were due to prolapse.

Helen has also followed numerous accredited short courses and every e-learning course on sheep health and husbandry available through Farming Connect. She says she loves to learn as she goes.