ONE of the region's largest sheep associations has unveiled a new sponsor.

The North of England Mule Sheep Association has welcomed Eden Farm Supplies (Brough) Ltd on board.

It is regarded as a fitting partnership between one of the UK’s biggest sheep breed associations in terms of numbers, currently with a membership around the 1,000 mark, and one of the north's best-known agricultural supply firms.

“We are delighted to welcome Eden Farm Supplies on board as a new sponsor. They are already well-known and well-used by many of our members across our northern heartlands and we look forward to further cementing this partnership,” said NEMSA’s national chairman, third generation North of England Mule breeder Chris Harrison, who farms at Coatlith Hill, Alston.

Eden Farm Supplies was established 39 years ago in Kirkby Stephen by Geoff and Carol Tunstall, initially working out of a relation’s living room.

They then took over a shop and store in Brough village, where they remained for 12 years and in 2000 further expanded and moved to the current head office premises, main shop and yard in Winton on the A685 between Kirkby Stephen and Brough.

Growth and diversification over the years have been impressive. The company, whose extensive portfolio includes animal health products, dairy hygiene, clothing, feed and livestock equipment, now covers an area encompassing Cumbria, Lancashire, Durham, Northumberland and North Yorkshire, as far north as the Scottish Borders, as far south as Cheshire.

Standalone auction shops are also located at marts in Penrith, Leyburn, Bentham and Darlington and the Eden Farm Supplies’ workforce now stands at around 20-strong, with a travelling sales team covering the majority of the company’s key trading areas.

Mr and Mrs Tunstall remain as directors of the company as well as their son Stephen.

Mr Tunstall said: “We’re excited to start working alongside NEMSA to help support many of our valued customers old and new.”