HAVING helped the sheep association grow significantly, its popular secretary is stepping aside from the role.

Marion Hope has served as secretary of the North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) for the past 14 years, and has seen membership surpass 1,000 during that time.

Since taking over from the long-serving Dorothy Bell, Marion has helped boost the association which has nine branches throughout the region but has said it was time for somebody to step into the role.

She said: “The membership has grown to over 1,000 members in the North of England and it’s time for somebody else to have a go.

“We have got the association into a good place financially and the time is right for somebody to take over the reins.”

Looking back through the years, Marion has played an important role in developing the breed and leading it through the advancement of social media, which had an impact on business with private sales through Facebook being common.

But the association has adapted and is continuing to go from strength to strength.

Marion said: “The 14 years have flown by and it’s like everything else that if you enjoy what you do than it’s not hard work.

“We have been really successful all over the country and it was really pleasing that we had 67 entries at the last Highland Show, when we used to only have 14.”

NEMSA is looking for somebody to fill the role of secretary.

Marion said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for somebody who has a genuine interest in North of England Mules.

“Social media moves at 100mph and you have that about you, but it will be a benefit to the association to have somebody passionate about the breed.”

More information is available at nemsa@btinternet.com.