Nick Harrington-Smith

Born and bred on a livestock farm, Nick has devoted the whole of his adult life to farming livestock.  In 1998, he was appointed as manager of Europe’s largest alpaca business with some 900 alpacas, a role he continued in until February 2005 when the business was sold.  2005 saw Nick and a business partner establish The Alpaca Stud, which owned a herd more than 700 alpacas, both Suri and Huacaya.  In 2017 he developed Alpaca Evolution with Shirley.  For Nick it really was an Evolution of all his years in Alpaca breeding.  Nick was the first judge to qualify under the British Alpaca Society training scheme, then going on to be the first European to have gained qualification as an AoA(American) Halter Judge , as well as for Fleece Judging and Performance classes.  Nick is also a BAS approved judge trainer.  Nick has been involved in the selection and purchase of breeding stock in both North and South America and Australia, and has assessed many thousands of alpacas in the process.  Bringing close to two decades of experience in Alpaca breeding there are few breeders in the UK who can rival him in his depth of knowledge both Alpaca itself and the industry that surrounds it.

Shirley Isseyegh

In the early 90’s having obtained her Honours Degree in International Hospitality Management Shirley worked in the Service Sector Industry as a 3rd generation hotelier and Managing Director in Central London for some 21 years. However, during those 25 years she took on a variety of roles and opportunities starting from the bottom rung of housekeeping, through to front of house, Human Resources, accounts and project managed several significant refurbishments working both here and in Canada.  Thus prior to owning alpacas her background could be considered by many to be a million miles away from “farming”, however she believes it gave her a broad and strong work ethic. In the eighth year of raising her own herd, Merrifield Alpacas, Shirley developed Alpaca Evolution in conjunction with Nick.  With her own Merrifield herd totaling some 90 alpacas 30% of which are Suri, it was a big leap to take.  But having been dynamically involved within the alpaca industry attending and supporting a variety of shows up and down the country as well as in the local community promoting both phenotypes Shirley was ready for the challenge. From the very beginning of her journey with alpacas Shirley has attended the majority of BAS educational courses most recently Judges Level 2; she has reinforced her learning by attending the same courses again as a volunteer handler taking in a broader perspective.  Shirley maintains a zeal to absorb as much information about alpacas and “Showing” as she can with her passion growing by the second.

Terry Harrington-Smith

Terry has been married to Nick for over 40 years and as such is probably as knowledgeable (or more!!) than Nick on farming and rural life. She originally studied and worked in hospitality but soon adapted to farming life and all the ups and downs it had to offer. She has been an integral part of the Alpaca stud operation since she and Nick first encountered them back in 1998. On the surface Terry is responsible for bookwork and keeping Nick in line (can you believe she still packs his suitcase for him!!) but behind the scenes we recognise her enviable knowledge of the genetics behind our breeding herd, her excellence in photography (just check out our website!) and her ability to be a jack of all trades stepping in to help with everything from scannings to matings to organising sit down dinners for hundreds at the latest alpaca event.

Alexandra Verhoef

Having started working with Alpacas on a part time basis back in 1998 Alexandra soon fell in love with this unique animal. On completion of her degree she soon joined the Alpaca world full time. Alpacas have offered her many unique adventures from a year on a Swiss quarantine, to a long haul cargo flight out of Canada with 150 Alpacas and 8 years running a herd of over 2000 Alpacas in Australia. Having met and married Dries in 2013, Alexandra returned to the UK in 2014 to work with the family business.

Dries Verhoef

A software engineer by trade, Dries fell in to Alpacas on a gap year in Australia. In September 2010 after a bit of confusion about his goat farming background (ask him when you see him!) he commenced working on a stud with well over 2000 alpacas. It was a baptism of fire but one that taught him a lot and set him on far more rural path than he had ever countenanced before! Alpacas also brought him and his wife, Alexandra, together and by 2014 they were already married and headed back to the UK to join the family Alpaca business.