Samantha's legacy

Samantha's legacy


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Sam McConnell-Green, Woodridge Dorpers, East Greenmount, and her beloved Dorpers. -Picture: SARAH COULTON.

Sam McConnell-Green, Woodridge Dorpers, East Greenmount, and her beloved Dorpers. -Picture: SARAH COULTON.

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WHEN speaking of avid sheep-lover Samantha McConnell-Green, three things are commonly mentioned.

Aa

WHEN speaking of avid sheep-lover Samantha McConnell-Green, three things are commonly mentioned.

The first two are her nurturing nature and her passion for educating students about meat sheep.

The third, since losing her battle with a brain tumour in June last year, is the significant hole she has left in the industry and for all who were blessed with her presence.

It is because of Samantha's enthusiasm through life that her memory will live on.

As the Toowoomba Showgrounds become a hive of activity for the annual Royal Show next week, a tribute to Samantha will be unveiled with the introduction of the annual Perpetual Memorial Shield.

"This is an appreciation of her efforts and we have put this as part of the Toowoomba Show, as it reintroduced the state sheep show for meat sheep," said Chris Rubie, who sits on the sub-committee of the Australia Stud Sheep Breeders' Association (ASSBA) Queensland branch.

Samantha, who worked in the Education Department and also ran Woodridge Dorpers, East Greenmount, brought together her connection with students and her passion for all things rural.

She was also a member of the ASSBA and through that drove the delivery of training seminar workshops, introducing students to meat sheep.

"She not only convinced the organisation to run this, but was the chief organiser," Mr Rubie said.

"She made the contact with students and schools and got it up and running, and it only ran for two years before she passed away."

Her project's early progress was something sheep breeders would like to continue to build on, he said.

The Samantha Perpetual Memorial Shield, to be awarded each year to the most successful school of the show, is a means of keeping Samantha's work going.

"The Toowoomba Show is the biggest meat sheep show in Queensland without a doubt, and everyone aims towards that.

"And as a part of that, we have put forward her memorial trophy," Mr Rubie said.

The association has put in a big effort to get schools involved, as "you can't have a memorial trophy unless you get schools to participate", and the response has been favourable.

It was through Samantha's sheep showing that she met Queensland Country Life photographer Sarah Coulton, who had started working for QCL less than 12 months earlier.

The pair struck up a close friendship, encouraged by Samantha taking the photographer under her wing.

"I was way out of my depth back them, but thankfully she was close by when it came time for me to cover my first dairy judging events at the 2010 Ekka," Ms Coulton said.

Despite being diagnosed with a brain tumour in early 2013, Samantha continued to work and show her sheep.

In May 2013, Samantha agreed for Ms Coulton to go out to her family property to take pictures of her with her Dorpers.

"We had so much fun that afternoon," Ms Coulton recalled, "laughing, joking and discussing the family favourites as the sun set on another glorious day.

"My pics of her on this particular day I will cherish forever."

Samantha passed away two months before last year's Ekka and has been very much missed.

Ms Coulton said there were a few times when she shed a silent tear and thought of her beautiful, smiling face at the event.

"Sam always thought of others and wanted to help people in anyway she could and she truly believed by telling her story if it could help someone else," she said.

As the date for Toowoomba Royal Show, March 19-21, nears, Ms Coulton is one of many welcoming the Samantha McConnell-Green Memorial Shield for the school competition.

"I think it's a fantastic tribute for something she was passionate for and to give her recognition for her caring and positive nature," she said.

"She was a pretty special girl and sadly so many people will grow up without her influencing their lives.

"Hopefully the people she has touched will influence the young - she was all about guiding young people."

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