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The John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award

The 2024 Borderway UK Dairy Expo’s, John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award recipient has been announced as Holstein UK Classifier, Geoff Bone.

Borderway UK Dairy Expo witnessed Geoff Bone, a stalwart of the dairy industry, be presented with the John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday 16th March. The accolade was established in 2013 in memory of well-known dairy farmer John Dennison, with the aim to recognise a dairy cattle breeder who is judged to be an exemplary role model and high achiever in the dairy industry. 

Geoff’s unwavering dedication, remarkable contributions, and infectious passion for the dairy sector have earned him the admiration and respect of breeders across the UK. In 1997, Geoff joined the Holstein UK classification team, where his expertise and dedication have been instrumental for the past 27 years.

On announcing this year’s winner, Harrison & Hetherington’s Senior Pedigree Dairy Auctioneer, Glyn Lucas said, “ When this award was initiated its aim was to recognise high achieving individuals within the dairy industry who are admired and respected by their peers.

“We received several nominations for Geoff, making it hard to ignore him as the perfect candidate! In good days and bad Geoff is always a constant, his character and personality and chirpy way is his trademark. So, on behalf the Dennison family and everyone at Borderway Dairy Expo, it gives me great pleasure to award Geoff,  one of the most popular and respected guys in the dairy business, the 2024 John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Born in the village of Berkermet, Cumbria, Geoff began his career in the Dairy industry helping his father, a skilled herdsman, managing top herds of his time, including John Jordan’s Primsland herd. Geoff's first job after learning all he could from his father, was managing the Newroddige Herd for the Mallaber family, and then moving onto the Hallwood Herd.

It was in 1977 that Geoff’s career took a significant turn when the Hallwood herd was acquired by the emerging breeder Alan Swale, owner of the Joylan herd. This marked the beginning of a formidable partnership, where Geoff's exceptional cow skills combined with Alan’s drive led to two decades of unprecedented success. The duo clinched numerous accolades, including victories at the prestigious Royal Shows with cows like Ensdon Helen and Arlene. Geoff also managed show-winning cows such as Joylan Enhancer Anna, who claimed the Grand Champion title at the European Dairy Event in 1994.

Geoff's prowess extended beyond the show ring to cattle sales, where he played a pivotal role in the success of the Joylan business. Notable highlights include the sale of Joyal Miss America 9, which fetched a remarkable 24,000gns at the Joylan Evening Sale in 1989.

As well as his job with Holstein UK, Geoff has been an enthusiastic part of the Holstein Young Breeders (HYB) movement, actively participating in weekend rallies and national calf shows, where he imparts knowledge and inspires the next generation of dairy enthusiasts.

Today, Geoff resides happily with his wife of 45 years, Christine near Garstang in Lancashire surrounded by their loving family, including four children and seven grandchildren.

On receiving this prestigious accolade Geoff said : “This is a  terrific industry award and I feel supremely humbled to be honoured by the Dennison family today here at Dairy Expo. 


The John Dennison Achievement Award recognises the dairy cattle breeder or exhibitor judged to be a high achiever and exemplary role model. The special prize, in memory of the lifelong long industry contribution made by Cumbrian dairy farmer John Dennison, will be given to the nominee judged to have the perfect combination of ability, sportsmanship, integrity and character.

John Dennison, who farmed at Scales Farm in Ulverston, was highly regarded in the industry as the breeder of the Denmire Holstein Herd on the 1000 acre family farm in Cumbria. Following his sad death in 2012 the Dennison family have annually presented this prestigious award as a mark of their deep respect for the lifelong contribution that John made to dairy farming, pedigree breeding, judging, showing as well as his promotion of the Holstein breed and his encouragement of the younger generation of Holstein breeders.

View previous winners here