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10-year-old is named best young handler at Sherborne Country Show
ONE of the youngest gundog handlers in the country has stolen the show with her black labrador retriever Jack.
Ella Bardsley, who has just turned 10, proved that youth is no barrier to success when she was judged best young handler at Sherborne Country Show earlier this month.
Ella’s unique bond with six-year-old Jack paved the way for their win in the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) Scurry League event.
The St Mark’s Primary School pupil was the only young handler to complete all three working tests and returned home triumphant with two rosettes, £15 and dog food vouchers.
Before the show Ella received vital tips from her proud mum Wendy Bardsley, a part-time lecturer at Bournemouth University. Both are members of Christchurch Gundog Club.
Wendy, from Talbot Village, Bournemouth, said: “I’m so proud of Ella and Jack. They are a dynamic duo and it was a fantastic day out. Ella had been training hard with Jack and was very excited about taking part in the scurries. It was a fantastic achievement. She was the youngest in the competition and her time score was the fastest.”
Wendy added: “Dog handling gives children confidence and gets them outdoors. It is very challenging. Ella relied on whistling and hand signals for the timed retrieves.”
Ella’s sister, seven-year-old Jessica, was also planning to take part in the scurry competition but ended up in plaster after breaking her wrist in two places.
Reflecting on her success, Ella said: “It was very exciting.”