A LOCAL young farmer was given a hefty surprise when she helped deliver a 21lb lamb.

Emily Baxter, from Bellingham, was overwhelmed when she placed the newborn on the scales, weighing in at 9.5kg.

It was just three lbs off the current holder of the Guinness World Record for heaviest newborn sheep at 24lbs.

An active member of Bellingham Young Farmers, the 19-year-old is currently studying Veterinary Nursing at Askham Bryan College, in York, but has seen her studies temporarily halted due to coronavirus lockdown measures introduced by the Government.

Determined to continue with her training however, Emily is currently working at Fitches Grange Farm, Bishop Auckland, where she has helped deliver up to 1,300 lambs. Her father Andrew said. “Although there’s a shut down at her college, Emily went to the farm and got to work straight away."

“She thought she was going to be away lambing for a few weeks but it’s going to be much longer now.

“All throughout her life she has wanted a career involving animals, all since she had horses and sheep on our farm in Bellingham.”

The National Sheep Association expressed its concerns last month about the impact of coronavirus on the sheep trade.

Chief executive Phil Stocker raised concerns about market prices and the knock-on effect this would have.

However Andrew, who has sheep on the family farm in Bellingham, said although the situation was difficult for farmers, they were coping.