Student winner of £3000 Royal Welsh award

4 July 2013

A £3000 Royal Welsh Agricultural Society scholarship to encourage students to develop their potential through academic achievement so that they can make a more effective contribution to the agricultural industry has been awarded to William Henry Sawday of Hill Farm, Llanigon, Hay-on-Wye.

The scholarship fund is sponsored annually by Waitrose and is intended to help students from Wales who have qualified through a Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree to proceed to a degree course in land-based studies at any university college in England, Scotland or Wales.  To qualify a candidate’s family must have lived in Wales for at least five years.

William, who comes from a sheep farm near Hay-on-Wye farmed by his mother, was a pupil at Gwernyfed High School,Three Cocks, Brecon, before following a National Diploma course in forestry and arboriculture at Hereford College of Technology where he won the top student award as well as achieving the highest grade on the course.

He went on to the Scottish Agricultural College at Edinburgh to take a Higher National Diploma course in agriculture and is now studying for the final year of a BSc(Hons) degree.  His honours research project is likely to investigate new techniques for selecting for worm resistance in ewes.

William is a keen rugby player and at university received the Player of the Year award in his first year.  He also enjoys white water rafting and paddles for the University Canoe Club, an activity that has taken him to the Scottish Highlands and as far as Norway.  He is a cricketer and was elected captain of the university’s Agriculture Society Cricket Team this season.

At home the farm carries a flock of 300 pedigree New Zealand Romney sheep.  The flock is fully recorded and the top rams are sold privately with full recorded data.  William visited New Zealand last year to work on a sheep farm.

The RWAS said it was pleased with the continued sponsorship by Waitrose of the award which allowed students to enhance their qualifications and there was also considerable potential for applicants to diversify their opportunities through the additional support offered by the sponsor.  In addition to the cash award Waitrose offered the opportunity of developing further contact and work experience through its supply chain network.

In their report the judges said they had been impressed by the high standard set by all the candidates all of whom faced a bright future