Departing Golden Shears World Council chairman Carterton’s Greg Herrick in France, stepping-down from the position of chairman of the Golden Shears World Council. PHOTO/DOUG LAING SSNZ.

Former top Wairarapa shearer Greg Herrick has ended 16 years on the Golden Shears World Council by standing-down from the position of chairman at the organisation’s World Championships conference in France.

A Golden Shears Open shearing finalist at the home of the Golden Shears in Masterton in 1983, Herrick joined the competition’s committee in 1989.

He became chairman of Masterton’s Golden Shears International Shearing Championships Society in 2000 and having been in 2005 elected vice-chairman of the World Council his elevation to the position of chairman was confirmed during the 2012 World Championships in Masterton.

The new World Council chairman will be George Graham, from Ireland, while Golden Shears Masterton delegate Phillip Morrison was elected vice-chairman, continuing Masterton’s links to the global administration which was initiated when the council was formed in Masterton in 1980.

Herrick won’t be disappearing from competitions, saying he was acutely aware of the necessity for volunteers in keeping the sport and the competitions going, and would continue helping where needed, a tradition long-set by past-presidents of the society in Masterton.

Speaking with media in the more than 30 degrees Celcius heat outside the championships’ huge metal-framed marquee stadium in central France town Le Dorat, championships organising president Christophe Riffaud said at least 300 volunteers, from the shearing community, the town and its district, would be on-site every day, with over 500 volunteers involved during the week.

Herrick said it was an enormous task for small towns without the resources of major cities, but Le Dorat had shown it could be done.

He told French media that when France was named host of the 2019 event, many people in New Zealand asked: “Do they have sheep in France?”

Riffaud, a professional shearer, would have been able to confirm there certainly were. About 5000 were sourced for the championships, from within a radius of 30km.

The Golden Shears International Championships have been held in Masterton every year since 1961, and the first World Championships were held in England in 1977.

The forming of the world council three years later included a request to the Masterton founders for permission to use the Golden Shears brand for the World Championship held at least once every four years.