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Mr A J ‘Ben’ Benson

MEMBERS OF Uxbridge and District Canine Society were saddened by the recent death in his 89th year of their President Mr A J Benson. Universally and affectionately known as ‘Ben’, he had been associated with the Society for a remarkable sixty-seven years. He came from Bedford to the Uxbridge area in the early thirties, and as an Irish Setter lover soon became involved with the CS. He joined the RAF in the War and was posted to India where his administrative skills were commended. He transferred his efficiency and accuracy to canine affairs once more on his return, and over the years held many positions - having been appointed Secretary and Treasurer together at the age of 23.

Chairman of the Society since its inception was H S Lloyd who at the same time was Hon Secretary of the Cocker Spaniel Club. Ben, having by this time become a Cocker owner, enthusiastically took on the role of Assistant Secretary of that Club, a post he held for about a dozen years. His speed with two fingers on the old-fashioned typewriter had to be heard to be believed! On the death of HSL he became Chairman of the Uxbridge CS for the next thirty-three years, and when he retired a s apublic health officer for the Borough the CS became an even more important part of his life.

Many exhibitors will recall the wonderful open-air shows, variously known as Uxbridge, then Hillingdon and lately Middlesex Shows, where they would traditionally slip off to indulge in strawberries and cream or enjoy the flower show or even to take a helicopter ride. Ben always regarded the Dog Section as the flagship event for the Uxbridge CS and it was a matter of some sadness last year when the Society withdrew from Middlesex to run its own, separate, summer show. Times change and Middlesex had become an entertainment far removed from the countryside theme of earlier times.

Ben will be remembered for the many hours he spent on that showground in preparation for the June shows. He was well-versed in rules and procedures, and was alert and observant, always on the look-out to ensure things were running smoothly. Although he did not partake in training, he was for many years a familiar part of ringcraft classes, particularly able on the social side and encouraging the newcomer. He was also successful with public relations, gaining and maintaining sponsorship for the Society. Exhibitors should always be grateful to such non-showers who devote so much effort to organising events for others.

Ben’s funeral at Breakspear Crematorium, Ruislip, was attended by former councillors and colleagues including dog show sponsor Mr Tom Morgan, for over forty years Chairman of the Middlesex Show Society. The Canine Society was represented by Vice-Presidents mr leonard Pagliero and Mrs Yvonne Horrocks, with Mr & Mrs Ron Gramlich, Mr Terry Nethercott and other members and friends including Cmdr John Williams, former Secretary of The Kennel Club, and Mr Eric Stevens, a previous obedience organiser for the Society.

Sadly Ben lost his wife in 1985, but to his daughter, Sally, we send sincerest condolences. He was a much-loved and respected figure in this area, and will be greatly missed. Uxbridge CS is making a donation to The Animal Health Trust in his memory.

Jennifer Lloyd Carey, Chairman

John Williams writes:

‘Ben’ Benson’s tremendous enthusiasm for all the activities of Uxbridge DCS was infectious. It was, along with his meticulous attention to detail, caught by all the members of his committee, whose loyalty and support he never failed to enjoy - and it just went on, year after year, never diminishing. Ben’s long links with the Society dating from the nineteen-thirties, his association with the legendary H S Lloyd, gave a comforting feeling of stability and tradition which carries on with H S Lloyd’s daughter, Jennifer, now in the chair.

Ben relished the fact that the Uxbridge DCS summer Open Show, run as part of the local community annual show, was regularly the only other general canine show in the country to be held on the Saturday of the Blackpool Championship Show in late June every year. He and his committee ensured that everything ran like cheerful clockwork, attracting hugely satisfying entries from appreciative exhibitors.

In so many ways Ben contributed immensely in establshing the reputation and well-being which Uxbridge DCS now enjoys, and he will be well remembered. Small in stature, very big in personality, during his chairmanship he ran a very happy and highly efficient ship. His friendship was one which I, along with many, many others, will always value.