A 10-YEAR-OLD schoolgirl from Nomansheath is heading to Crufts to show off her two bouncing beagles after winning first prize at the Whitchurch & District Canine Society’s annual show.

Ellie Minshull of Nomansheath, who goes to Madras School in Penley, impressed the judges and claimed first prize in the junior handling class at the show on Sunday, January 4 with two-and-a-half-year-old Bumble, despite being one of the youngest contestants.

Ellie, who only started showing her pet pooches 12 months ago, was due to compete at the Manchester Championship Show yesterday, (Thursday). And on March 5, she will show Bumble and her eight-month-old puppy, Dottie, at Crufts.

“We got Bumble as a family pet, but Ellie wanted to do something with her and it’s just snowballed,” said mum Fiona, a teacher at The Maelor School in Penley. “A few people have said she must be a natural because beagles aren’t the easiest dogs to control. She’s really good at showing them off.”

Ellie trains her four-legged friends at the Aricia dog club on Alkington Road in Whitchurch and attends a ringcraft class in Moreton Say once a week. She came second in her first ever serious event at Powys in October, and has since won five out of the six shows she’s entered.

The talented youngster has now qualified for the semi-final of the UK Junior Handler competition, which will be held in Surrey in September. She also swims twice a week with Whitchurch Wasps swimming club, and is a member of a drama club in Penley.

“She’s a busy girl, but the dogs are her main love,” said Fiona.