Blaise Tomlinson owner of the pedigree Sandyford Ayrshire cow herd in Loughborough, Leicestershire, was announced the 2020 recipient of the John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award at the Borderway UK Dairy Expo.

In doing so, Mr Tomlinson, who is the breeder of numerous top show cows to include the legendary Sandyford Clover 10, becomes the first Ayrshire cattle breeder to win the award established in memory of Cumbrian dairy farmer John Dennison.

The award aims to recognise a dairy cattle breeder who is judged to be a high achiever and exemplary role model. It is given to an advocate judged to demonstrate the traits of the award’s namesake – a high achiever and exemplary role model within the dairy industry, demonstrating the perfect combination of ability, sportsmanship, integrity and character within the sector.

Blaise has been farming all his life and is a third generation dairy farmer, firstly farming with his father in Lancashire and latterly in Leicestershire on the Charnwood Forest Farm. Eric, his father, started the Sandyford Ayrshire herd 50 years ago and Blaise joined him at home after leaving school. The next year, at the age of just 17, he showed his first Sandyford cow, which over the years has resulted in huge success.

Blaise has farmed 400 head of pedigree Ayrshire cattle at Charnwood Forest Farm near Loughborough since 2007 and is one of the most highly regarded Ayrshire breeders in the UK and the world, with the Sandyford prefix at the forefront of many top show cows and heifers up and down the country.

Blaise is also the proud owner of one of the most well-known red and white cows in the UK, Sandyford Clover 10 which boasts prolific show success as well as a wide lineage of winning offspring from every major show in the UK. Her grand-daughter also achieved a new breed record of 14,000gns at the Black and White sale at Borderway Mart, in December.

Respected by young and old, what really stood out within Blaise’s nominations, was the countless accounts of his support of young farmers, helping youngsters to get their animals to show, holding Ayrshire rallies at his farm providing calves and facilities and also helping 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.

Blaise also commits a great deal of his busy life to breed clubs, he has previously been past chairman of The Lancashire and Derbyshire Ayrshire and has been chairman of the East Midlands Holstein Clubs for the past four years, as well as being on the board of Ayrshire breed development.