INDEPENDENT sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings has been recognised for her near 40 years dedication to the sheep sector.

She was presented with the National Sheep Association's (NSA's) George Hedley Memorial Award for her services to the industry.

Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive, said she had given immeasurable service to the UK sheep sector, particularly in forming and developing the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) group.

He said: "Thanks to Lesley, I believe UK sheep farmers are currently far more aware of the challenges they face due to anthelmintic resistance and are taking steps to counteract this and improve the health and welfare status of their livestock.

"This alone is an achievement worth recognising, not to mention the vast amount of work throughout the sector that Lesley has been responsible for."

A former principal sheep consultant with ADAS she became an independent consultant in 1997, developing a wide client base , advising farmers, Defra and organisations such as NSA. She isa a life member of the Sheep Veterinary Society and the leading figure in SCOPS which is a world leader in integrated parasite control in sheep.

She received her award at the weekend at the biennial Sheep Breeders Round Table (SBRT) conference, and said: "I have been very fortunate to have worked in such a vibrant sector over my career and want to acknowledge the efforts of many people who have supported and encourage me over the years.

"I hope to be able to continue to support the next generation of sheep advoisers as we move into a new phase for our industry."

Bryan Griffiths, NSA chairman, said: " Anyone who has ever worked with Lesley cannot have failed to be impressed by her knowledge and enthusiasm for sheep farming, and we enjoy a particularly close working relationship with her at NSA. I believe this award to be very well deserved."