The Hyndhope shepherd’s aim is to raise funds for three local causes – Kirkhope and Yarrow Primary Schools, as well as the Harris Trust (set up in memory of Lilliesleaf teenager Harris Macdonell, who died in 2020 at the age of 19).
“The Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys are a small, close-knit community,” says Jason, “with the local schools playing a vital role.
“The majority of local farmers and their families will have attended these schools, with my own two youngest currently pupils at Kirkhope.
“The Harris Trust meanwhile, aims to help improve the lives and mental health of neurodivergent young people who, like Harris, face challenges in social communication and in understanding everyday life.
“I knew Harris from a young age. He was in the same year group at school as my eldest son Josh, while his father David works for a local agricultural merchant and so our paths regularly cross.
“Harris was a great lad, very polite and courteous, as well as being a talented sportsman and musician. He would always come across to chat whenever you bumped into him. His death affected me greatly.”
So far a total of 32 farms have invited Jason to come and shear 50 of their flock. One of the first was Sundhope, in the Yarrow Valley, where brothers Duncan and Callum Hume run 1,400 South Country Cheviots.
“It’s brilliant what Jason is doing,” said Callum, during a break from clipping alongside Jason. “It’s for some really good causes, and I think underlines how closely the two valleys work together.”
Jason is asking each farm to make a donation in respect of the sheep he shears on their property, and is hoping he will be able to donate at lease £1,000 to each of the three designated causes.
Prior to arriving at Sundhope, Jason had visited the farms at Howden and Hartwoodmyers. “No-one I’ve contacted about the challenge has said no,” he added, “and as word begins to filter through about the challenge I’m expecting more people to get in touch.”
Anyone who would like to make a donation to Jason’s ’50 For 50’ challenge can do so by clicking here.