LIVING all her life on a farm has given Emma Blamire the insight into dealing with day-to-day issues facing the farming community in her job as a recently-qualified solicitor.
Growing up on her family’s farm, she was always outdoors, helping her parents with jobs and exploring the nearby fields and countryside.
Going away to university to study law only underlined how important living and working in Cumbria was to her.
“As much as I loved living in the city, it wasn’t green enough for me,” she says.
“I’ve lived on a farm all my life and spent much of my time outdoors. It was important to me that I came back home to Cumbria.”
Emma, 25, returned in 2018 to start work at Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors in Carlisle, which has an office just 15 minutes drive from her home.
She recently qualified as a solicitor and is now part of the firm’s agriculture and estates team, one of the leading agricultural law practices in the north of England.
Emma’s farming background and knowledge of the sector gives her an excellent insight into her work.
“I wanted to specialise in this area because I can relate to it,” she says.
“Living on a farm, I know from personal experience some of the issues the clients face. I now have the legal understanding of those same issues which means I can help through my knowledge of both the sector and the law.”
Emma lives at Mid Whinnow Farm, near Thursby, with her parents, Ian and Gillian, her sister Amy, 23, and her brother Tom, 21.
Amy is a veterinary nurse at Belle Vue Vets in Wigton and Tom works at home on the farm and is currently chairman of Raughton Head Young Farmers, a club with which the family has a long association.
Both Ian and Gillian were members of Raughton Head YFC, and Ian still helps out at the club.
Emma, who has held the positions of treasurer and secretary for the club, regularly takes part in competitions, particularly public speaking and recently reached the northern area finals for debating.
She was also part of the cast which reached the national finals for the entertainment competition in 2014.
Emma says: “Young Farmers gives you the skills from a young age to speak with confidence in front of an audience. It’s not an easy thing to do and something which people can take for granted.”
When she’s not working or competing with Young Farmers, Emma can be found helping out on the family’s dairy farm, which is home to a herd of pedigree Holstein, Friesian and Viking Red cows, and a flock of around 100 pedigree Zwartbles sheep.
While her parents and brother take care of the day-to-day running of the farm, Emma helps out at weekends including an early morning alarm call every Sunday for milking duties.
She says: “I’m up at 5.45am to be ready to start milking at 6am. It’s worse on cold, dark, winter mornings!”
Emma’s sole responsibility are her two pygmy goats, Willow and Millie, who are her pride and joy. “We call them the little Houdinis because they can escape from everywhere and anywhere,” says Emma. “They are such characters. If they don’t want to do something they won’t do it, and they absolutely hate the rain.”
Emma bought Willow and Millie after meeting a breeder at the Royal Highland Show where the family were showing sheep.
“I’d wanted some pygmy goats for years but my parents kept saying no. However, once I was working, I decided I could buy them - and look after them - myself. I didn’t tell my dad they were coming until the week before they arrived. I absolutely love having them, there’s never a dull moment.”
After A-Levels at Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton, Emma read law in Liverpool John Moores University followed by a one-year legal practice course at Northumbria University.
While in her second year of university, Emma got chatting to Mark Jackson, a director in Cartmell Shepherd’s agriculture and estates department, at the firm’s stand at Dalston Show and he invited her to do some work experience with them.
She then successfully applied for a two-year training contract, spending six months in different departments to gain experience.
“I was over the moon when I got the phone call to say I’d got a training contract with Cartmell Shepherd. It was a Friday morning and I was just about to go into a lecture when I got the call to say I’d been successful.
“My parents were delighted for me too because I’d always wanted to work in that sector and it was with a local firm which has a great reputation.”
Emma’s Cumbrian roots have helped her find her feet in her new role, and her ambition is to pursue a successful legal career in Cumbria.
“I’m looking forward to building relationships with clients and becoming the person they can trust to do a good job. I feel very lucky to be following my chosen career in my chosen field, while still being able to live at home, work on the farm and be part of Young Farmers.”