Later this month renowned Shepherdess Alison O’Neill, is to give an exclusive live interview to tell her story in her home county of Cumbria. Respected Cumbrian businesswoman Sue Howorth will host the evening which is to take place in the Exhibition Hall of the Junction 36 Auction Mart, on the evening of Thursday 29th November.
Sue Howorth explained: “As well as being truly honoured to help Alison tell her story, I am excited for the audience to hear what I have learnt over recent months.
“There is so much to hear; from learning of Alison’s childhood and the daily adventures she got up to, the emotion of returning home followed by the brutal lows of foot and mouth to more recent tales of sitting in the living room with Clare Balding watching Channel 4 Racing whilst they sheltered from the bad weather!
“Alison is an inspirational woman, and her dedication and recent support to helping soldiers and their families adjust back into day to day life by embracing the great outdoors in the Howgills with Brian Capstick and Major Ken Hames is humbling.
“Next year will be a hugely important one for Alison with a book, TV series and many other exciting projects coming to fruition so this will be an uplifting opportunity to hear about what is ahead as well as what has gone before.”
Alison O’Neill, famous as the ‘one-woman-farm’ started her farming journey after returning in 1999 to her childhood roots in the shadows of The Howgills, where a four-year-old Alison used to run barefoot on the fells.
On realising that the traditional farming ways of her grandparents were dying out, a horrified Alison set about making her mark on the Cumbrian and Dales landscape by reverting to a natural, season driven approach to farming. Now famed for even more than her traditional approach to farming, it was the struggles brought about by Foot and Mouth that forced her initial diversification.
Alison feels those darker times were the ‘making of her’ and today as well as her farm Shacklabank, giving guided fell tours, and public speaking, Alison now produces her own tweed from her three native flocks (Rough Fell, Herdwick and Swaledale) to create her own clothing range.
Arguably the most famous female farmer in Britain; with tens of thousands of social media followers, numerous TV and radio appearances, and even letters from the Queen, her life is an inspiring and varied one.
The evening will also welcome some special guests who have played a significant part in different chapters of Alison O’Neill’s life. Life-long friend Brian Capstick, and close friend Katie Read who was a huge help and support alongside the Addington fund when Alison initially diversified into her fashion, fell walks and farm visits following the foot and mouth crisis.
Alison said “Although this had been done on paper over the years through various articles, I have never before told my story in this way. I will be giving a real insight into my life from childhood to present day.
“The last year has been one that has made me deeply reflect, but also understand now is the time for the next chapter; for me as a woman, the farm, fashion and my writing. I get piles of letters and emails each day from fantastic people who dedicate their time to follow me on my social media, hear me speak, read my articles and listen back to various radio shows and watch various TV appearances. It’s through reading these letters that I have been given the strength and inspiration to ask Sue to help me tell my story on this special evening.”
Tickets are £25 and include arrival drinks, canapés, show entry and perhaps most importantly, a donation to The Addington Fund which helped Alison’s family during the Foot and Mouth crisis. For more information or to book