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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Sheep who thinks he’s A Shearer

Oliver unwinds after a hard day in the field

MEET Oliver, the football-playing sheep who is West Cumbria’s answer to Alan Shear-rer.

The family pet has become a star in Flimby since his arrival as a birthday present last year for Jenna Gorley, of Church Road.

He lives in a pen opposite Jenna’s home, but once a ball is thrown he displays skills more at home on a football pitch than a farmyard.

Using a nose-dribbling technique, he weaves his way around his enclosure.

This woolly jumper also leaps into the air in a bid to unsettle his opponents.

“We think he is more of a defensive player than an attacker,” said Jenna’s dad Andrew.

“He’s quite solid and if Sven-Goran Eriksson is looking for a holding midfield player to take to the World Cup, I’m sure he could do a job.”

Oliver arrived in Flimby in sad circumstances.

He was born on a farm in Blindcrake, but his mum died shortly after.

The farmer did not have time to look after him so he would have died too.

But the farmer remembered his friend Andrew Gorley, in Flimby, and his daughter Jenna who had always wanted a sheep.

He celebrated his first birthday last week, and the family bought him a card and he wore a birthday badge.

Jenna said: “At first he was just a bag of bones. He lived in the kitchen and had to be fed every two hours, he wasn’t expected to live.

“We named him Oliver because he used to look at you as if to say ‘please, sir, can I have some more?’”

He pulled through and was moved to a pen next to Flimby cemetery, complete with wooden hut.

He behaves more like a dog than a sheep. He responds when his name is called, can be fed by hand and has his own lead for walks down the lane.

Village children flock to see him and feed him treats - his favourite is Milky Way Stars. He’s also partial to ivy.

But while he loves people, there is one group he cannot stand - other sheep.

“He is frightened when farmers lead other sheep past. He cowers in the corner of the pen,” said mum Beverley.

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