The sheep with stardom to shear

Shrek rests among his 8kg fleece after being shorn at the Tarras School yesterday. Photo by...
Shrek rests among his 8kg fleece after being shorn at the Tarras School yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Two years of woolly growth was removed from Shrek the famous sheep yesterday as the merino wether once again stumped up for charity and a book launch.

The 16-year-old's star quality has hardly faltered in the six years he has worked the celebrity fundraising circuit for Cure Kids and Tarras School.

In deference to his seniority, Shrek's appearance at Tarras School was a low-key affair.

Previous shearings have taken place in a range of exotic locations with an attendant blaze of publicity but just the Otago Daily Times was invited yesterday.

Omarama shearer Ross Kelman's blade-shearing demonstration attracted about 50 spectators.

Mr Kelman admitted to nerves and said afterwards he kept his snips slow, small and gentle to reduce stress on Shrek, who was calm throughout.

"He never wriggled or anything. He was good ... There is a wee nick on one of his wrinkles. He's all right but it doesn't look good for the photos," Mr Kelman said.

Owner John Perriam said Shrek would have been relieved to lose his woolly coat for the summer.

He and farm consultant Ann Scanlan estimated the fleece weighed about 8kg, much lighter than the 22kg removed in 2004.

Tarras School principal Noelene Pullar said the children were very interested in Shrek.

The school was reprinting its first Shrek book. More than $100,000 has been raised from sales, allowing the school to hire a second teacher and improve the grounds and pool.

Cure Kids regional manager Josie Spillane said the children's cancer charity had benefitted by about $170,000 because of Shrek and associated activities.

Mr Perriam's first book, Dust to Gold (2009), had raised $30,000 alone for the charity, she said.

Mr Perriam's second publication, Shrek: The Story of a New Zealand Icon, was released to book stores at Labour Weekend and officially launched yesterday.

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