It’s fair to say that the move to Sansaw wasn’t unfamiliar territory for Assistant Herdsperson Sean, having milked cows for the past 17 years.
Though originally from South Africa, Sean moved over to the UK in 2000 where he first lived in Aberystwyth, working on boats fishing for prawn and crabs. In June 2002, he fancied a change in scenery and decided to give dairy farming a go – and hasn’t looked back since.
“Although I’ve only been in the country for 19 years, my mum’s family are originally from Aberdeen. My mum’s parents emigrated to South Africa after the World Wars.
“Moving to Shropshire was mainly down to influence from the lads I knew and my partner. She has worked all over the UK with the British Horse Society – everywhere from the Midlands up to Scotland, but she really loves Shropshire.”
Despite claiming he just “does as he’s told” at Sansaw, there’s a lot that goes into Sean’s day-to-day working life – from looking after the ‘girls’ (as he affectionately refers to the cows) and milking them twice a day, to checking that the milk they are producing is safe and healthy.
Living on the estate at Merry Lane, Sean appreciates the people around him, he says.
“It’s a great team, everybody knows what they’re doing and if anyone needs help there’s always someone around to pitch in. We all get on well together and have a laugh and a joke, but when it comes to work we can crack on with what we’re doing. It definitely helps if you’re having a tough day.
“One of the toughest challenges of the job is definitely the winters, but that gets everybody. Starting and finishing in the dark is an occupational hazard but it makes you look forward to when the clocks change and when it gets warmer.”
Away from the parlour, Sean considers himself a family man and loves spending time with his partner and young son, Joshua.
“Joshua is seven and he loves climbing, swimming and cricket. He also has a Shetland pony that he loves to ride, and with his mum working with the British Horse Society he’ll always have access to a pony. It’s great getting to spend so much time with him.”