Asylum seekers become shepherds in the Yorkshire Dales for a day

Lucy Purdy

Yorkshire farmer Rodney Beresford says working with asylum seekers is “one of the best things I’ve done”

“Eeh by gum!” might not be their most practised phrase in English, but language proved to be no obstacle for a group of asylum seekers who helped a Yorkshire Dales farmer with his lambs earlier this year.

Men who have fled war and violence in countries like Iran, Kuwait and Nigeria spent a day with Rodney Beresford, helping with herding, tagging and marking newborn lambs on Beresford’s farm at the foot of Ingleborough, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

In fact, Beresford has welcomed similar groups for the past 12 years, as part of a project by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. “It is surprising how many farmers from different countries come and help me learn something,” he tells Positive News. “It is one of the best things I’ve done over the years. It genuinely makes a difference. We get a day’s work done very easily.”

Sheep on Beresford’s farm in Ingleborough

“When I see the lambs like this, I remember home in Somalia and I remember my family. This is my kind of work,” says refugee Habib Mohammed Saeed. Another man was a shepherd in Kuwait, herding using camels.

Not all in the group will be allowed to remain in the UK: they are waiting to hear whether or not their asylum applications will be accepted.

Images: YDMT


This article is featured in issue 94 of Positive News magazine.

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