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Philip's a bit sheepish about his talent.

The only things likely to interest most ten-year-old boys are playing football and computer games.

But for Philip Mellin, nothing can beat going out on the moors in West Yorkshire's Bronte Country with his faithful border collie, Bracken, to herd sheep, ducks and other livestock.

And the youngster is proving to be one of the best young talents in the country in the ancient discipline at competitive trials up and down the country.

He has been doing it since he could walk and his parents, Carol and Albert, say that instead of a dummy, he was given a sheepdog whistle as a baby.

That training, and the fact that Carol and Albert are tenant farmers on 170acres of land around the village of Oakworth, appears to be paying off. Philip now competes in sheepdog trials and in October beat more experienced adults to come second at a competition in Weardale, County Durham.

He featured on the BBC's One Man and His Dog in Holker Hall, in Cumbria, this month and was also on children's TV programme Blue Peter last year.

Mrs Mellin, aged 45, said: 'He's taken part competitively for about two years. We both do it as well. It's just something he's done ever since he could walk.

'We give demonstrations and over the years he's progressed. He's been really successful. He's the youngest known competitor. We've never come across a younger one.'

'Farming is in his blood. He's got a good sheep sense.'

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Philip Mellin, aged ten, with his four-year-old sheepdog Bracken
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 5, 2005
Words:256
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