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Sheep tempt Manx man from island

PUBLISHED: 17:18 16 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 March 2010

AN ARTICLE about sheep in The Evening Star has tempted an Isle of Man resident to leave the island for the first time in 56 years.

Islander George Day was sent a clipping from the Star in May by Ipswich reader Peter Hammond about a flock of rare Manx sheep which were breeding on a Suffolk nature reserve.

AN ARTICLE about sheep in The Evening Star has tempted an Isle of Man resident to leave the island for the first time in 56 years.

Islander George Day was sent a clipping from the Star in May by Ipswich reader Peter Hammond about a flock of rare Manx sheep which were breeding on a Suffolk nature reserve.

So the 83 year-old decided it was time to come to England and pay the sheep a visit on a month long holiday.

The four Manx Loghtan rams and 25 ewes arrived at the Minsmere reserve last year after they were bought by the RSPB as a tribute to an elderly widow.

Josephine Boraston who died on Anglesey, aged 85, left the RSPB more than £2million in her will.

The breed of sheep takes its name from the colour of its fleece, thought to be derived from two Manx words Lugh (mouse) and Dhoan (brown).

The lambs are born jet black acquiring the distinctive fleece by the time they are fully grown.

This year the flock has thrived, producing 30 lambs less than twelve months after their arrival.

George, of Castletown, Isle of Man, has come to stay with his pal Peter, 69, at his Landseer Road home, and they both made a trip to Minsmere to see the sheep.

Peter explained that George, who was originally from Chelsworth, decided to make the trip back to Suffolk to visit some of his old childhood haunts.

He said: "George went over to the Isle of Man during the Second World War and married a Manx girl. When he was de-mobbed he decided to stay on the island and he hasn't been back to England since."

George had contacted a museum in the Isle of Man who donated Manx badges to hand out to children who visit the sheep at Minsmere.

He also had a chance to meet Minsmere stockman Ian Salkfeld who looks after the sheep and has spent time visiting relations in Kent.

MANX LOGHTAN FAST FACTS

The Manx Loghtan is one of the oldest and most distinctive breeds of sheep in the UK. It is has been around, unchanged, since the Iron Age and is thought to have been introduced to the UK by the Vikings.

The breed's impressive horns and dark brown fleece make it very distinctive.

The Manx Loghtan is multi-horned, commonly sporting between two and four. Four horned rams, are particularly striking.

It is a hardy mountain sheep and used to exist in high numbers on the Isle of Man until the eighteenth century. In the 1950s there were only a handful left. Today, as with many rare breeds, it is found in a few small flocks around the UK.

Source: www.langleychase.co.uk

ISLE OF MAN FACTS

The 1998 film Waking Ned was filmed on the island as was the Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000).

Famous residents include Norman Wisdom and Nigel Mansell.

Pop supergroup The Bee Gees hail from Douglas in the island. The Three Gibb Brothers were born at the Jane Crookall maternity hospital in Douglas on the in 1946 and 1949.

They left the island for Manchester, England when the twins were about five.

Athletes from the Isle of Man will among 23 islands taking part in the Natwest Island Games which will take place in Guernsey this month.

The island's population is around 75,000.

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