EWE wouldn’t believe it... female sheep shearers have been awarded their own class at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Entries are already flocking in with shepherdess Alice Petch from, Stokesley, one of the first.

She has been shearing for five years with an average now of 160 sheep a day

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The 23-year-old said: “I’ve taken part in shearing competitions before, but never a class confined to women. I’m looking forward to it, I think it is a really positive step to recognise the increasing number of women shearers.”

Ms Petch learnt her trade when she was 18 and has been shearing for five years.

She added: “Nigel Buckle, who is now my shearing partner, always sheared our sheep and suggested I give it a go. My Dad didn’t think I would be able to do it so I’m pleased I could prove him wrong.”

Richard Schofield, the section’s chief steward, said: “Sheep shearing is a big part of farm life and it is important that we encourage women as much as men to participate and demonstrate their shearing skills. There are a lot of good lady sheep shearers in the region, so it made sense to include the class.”

More than 135,000 visitors are expected to flock through the gates for the show which runs from Tuesday, July 8 to Thursday, July 10. The shearing section has competitive classes and demonstrations on all three days and always draws the crowds.

Entries come from across the world including top shearers from New Zealand and Australia, as well as British champions, competing for the championship awards. The ladies sheep shearing class takes place on Wednesday.