David John of Lister Shearing equipment Ltd awarded the Shearing Personality of the Year trophy at the British Isles Shearing Competition Association (BISCA) AGM in Bradford in November.
Colin MacGregor, Shearing Training Manager at the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB), introduced the recipient of the award. “He’s an outstanding winner, a deserved winner,” he said. “I can’t speak about his past beyond about five or six years ago, but since then...” The pause hinted at incredible achievements in those recent years.
“He’s one of the nicest young fellows you’ll ever meet in the shearing world,” Colin continued, as the suspense built, “he’s a very level headed young shearer, a great ambassador for UK shearing and he’s got the respect of everyone I’ve ever spoken to.
“I’ve seen him rapidly coming up through the classes – he was the top Senior shearer in the UK and then the next following year he was doing very well in the Open classification.”
By now, most people in the room knew that the winner was Gareth Daniel, one of the UK’s top and most promising shearers. The 31 year old from Machynlleth, North Wales, was the highest ranked Open shearer in the UK this season, with seven wins, bringing his career total up to 23 (29 if you count major Welsh titles, including the coveted Champion Shearer of Wales at the Royal Welsh Show).
The round of applause given by all present at the meeting as he received his trophy was testament to what a deserving winner they thought that he was.
“It’s really good [to receive the award],” Gareth said afterwards. He didn’t know that he had won it, but said that he had an idea that he might have because of being invited to attend the AGM.
Gareth will travel to New Zealand on 1st January for just under two months, where the big sheep numbers will provide his training for the winter. He will also compete in seven test matches against the New Zealanders, who are regarded as the best in the world, as well as competing on an individual level.
In May he will represent Wales in the Shearing World Championships, hosted this year by Ireland.
Longer term, Gareth, also a skilled carpenter and a farmer, admits that no one knows what’s around the corner. “I plan to keep doing the best I can in the competitions,” he says, “and spend more time with the family and on the farm at home”.
With his exceptional talent, professional attitude, and being just in his prime years, people across the UK and Wales especially will hope that he keeps shearing for many years yet.