Young shepherd puts off uni to tend to her flock

A PASSIONATE young farmer and champion stock judger who achieved outstanding A-level results will delay taking up her degree course at a top veterinary school because she will be busy calving and lambing.

Henrietta Jarvis, who has dreamt of being a vet since she was at primary school, won a place to study veterinary medicine at the University of Nottingham

The Ripon Grammar School student, who saved up to buy her own flock of 20 ewes after her GCSEs and has been rising at 4am throughout the summer holidays to tend to her sheep before heading to work on a dairy farm, achieved A* grades in chemistry and maths and an A in biology.

The 18-year-old, whose grandparents are farmers, was also awarded a A* grade for her extended project qualification (EPQ) which examined the environmental impact of veganism.

Henrietta, from Roecliffe, outside Boroughbridge, is now looking forward to taking up her degree course in April.

“I am hoping to expand my flock this autumn and buy some more ewes, so will be able to manage the lambing season alongside other farm duties.”

The young shepherd, whopicked asparagus and soft fruit on a local farm during lockdown to buy her first flock of mule sheep,will also be working at a Dales farm near Skipton, where there will be 300 ewes to lamb.

Having gained experience with small animals during her weekend job at a local veterinary practice, she is currently working on a large, family-run dairy farm outside Thirsk, where she helps milk 800 cows every day.

She has always kept busy, she says, having helped with everything from lambing to milking and calving at her grandparents’ farm near Wakefield since she was at primary school, jugging farming work with her studies since she was in Year 9, she says.

Henrietta, who has also had a part-time job milking goats and completed her gold Duke of Edinburgh Award during sixth form, says: “Both my parents are from farming families, and I have wanted to be a vet since I was young.”

The teenager is so obsessed with her flock that all she asked for at Christmas was a solar powered electric fence and some sheep hurdles.

She has built up lots of expertise in recent years, winning the Yorkshire Country Dairy Judging finals this year just before sitting her A-levels, going on to be placed third in the nationals at the Great Yorkshire Show.

She is also an active member of the National Federation of Young Farmers: “I’m an elected member of the National Youth Forum - where I have been able to share my views and those of the area to influence national policy on agriculture and rural issues,” she says.

Her farming work, she says, will also provide valuable experience for her veterinary degree, where students gain practical experience through extra mural placements.

Henrietta adds of her sixth form experience at RGS: “This was the first time I sat public exams - having not taken GCSEs due to covid. Despite being well prepared by school - it was stressful - and made a bit worse by my brother, William, sitting his GCSEs at the same time - at times there was quite a bit of tension in the air at home! My poor little sisters spent quite a bit of time tiptoeing around the house and making us both cups of tea and snacks!"