Passing of Sam Wharry (56) ‘a tragic loss’ to UK sheep industry

Samuel Wharry
Samuel Wharry

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has said it is gravely saddened to announce the sudden passing of Samuel Wharry, NSA Chairman and County Antrim sheep farmer, who died suddenly on Friday 5th May aged just 56.

In a statement the Association said that Samuel, alongside several other sheep farmers in Northern Ireland, was instrumental in taking the NSA presence forward in the region.

He was later appointed to represent NSA Northern Ireland Region as a Trustee of the UK wide association in 2012 and elected as National Chairman in January 2015. During this time, Samuel proved to be a true ambassador, not only for the association but also the wider sheep industry with his wealth of sheep farming knowledge.

Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “It is difficult to believe we have lost such a truly valued friend and colleague. Sam was such a strong, capable and enthusiastic individual who gave us all so much, something he would have continued to do long into the future if he had been able to. My thoughts, and those of NSA, go out to his family at this unbearable time.”

Samuel was particularly passionate about attracting young people into the industry, being an active supporter of the NSA Next Generation project since its creation and entering into a share farming agreement of his own farm in recent years.

This mutually beneficial agreement enabled Samuel to have time to devote to NSA, while working alongside his young business partner. The pair collectively made management decisions surrounding the purebred Scottish Blackface flock as well as various breeding initiatives, which included crossing with the Swaledale and Lleyn, to gather practical data on maternal lines as a co-researcher and partner farm with AFBI, Hillsborough.

The NSA Board of Trustees has provided this collective statement: “Samuel was a thoroughly decent gentleman and to say he will be missed is very much an understatement. He was not only an exceptional NSA Chairman, but a fantastic ambassador for the UK sheep industry. His loss is a great one, to his family and friends, business partner and all of his associates through the sheep world. He will be sorely missed.”