Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567
The Golden Bone Awards 2002

Report by John Richardson
Photos by Sam Jones

THE SECOND Golden Bone Awards was held on Saturday 9 February at the swanky Radisson Hotel, Manchester Airport. These awards first hosted last year were given extensive media coverage in the canine press; enough to whet the appetite of this inveterate partygoer, and I promised myself to be found amongst the glitteratti at this year event.

Exactly what I was expecting I’m still solving that conundrum, what I got was a scintillating night out. The Golden Bones in essence are dogdom’s self congratulatory back-slap-cum-love fest. Tickets are not at the cheap end of a night out retailing at £55 each, however one salves one’s conscience by remembering it only equates to the cost of 3 entries at a championship show. For a Golden Bone ticket you get an impressive 3 course meal and wine supplied too. The meal was very palatable but I abandoned the Manchester tart (a pudding) as rather a little too hearty for a third course.

From l-r - Claire Parry-Baggott of Purina, David Pugh & Bear, Natalia Budd,
Armand Beasley and Kevin Horkin.

Let’s step back as I have overreached myself already. The evening commenced with a champagne reception in the hotel foyer to the accompaniment of an enthusiastic beat combo which played with all the vigour that seemed to set the tone for the evening. TV cameras and press flashed their lights at us as we circulated amongst chums and acquaintances. Much of the talk was playing ‘catch up’ and how folks had fared at Manchester Ch Show ongoing over the same weekend.

There is always something reassuring about seeing the luminaries of one’s chosen sport present and Terry and Zena, Ellis Hulme, Mike Stockman etc were the usual pleasant company one can always rely upon them to be.

From the champagne reception we were ushered into the stunning banqueting suite and claimed our tables. I really pulled the long straw by having Marion Spavin as my left hand dinner guest with the rest of the table composed of Meg Purnell Carpenter, Annette Oliver, Liz Dunhill and party and Helen Davenport Willis and her mother. I soon knew this was going to be a night to remember.

Katie Boyle & Caroline Menteith of Dogs Today are entertained by Man In Black!

First up onto the impressive stage was non other than OUR DOGS MD Vince Hogan who welcomed everyone to the occasion, thanking all who had worked hard to put on this night...especially the sponsors whose financial help was essential and Susie Mathis Ltd who co-ordinated the evening.

Then a presentation took place when two of the Pet Role Trust Directors, Dave Cavill and Kevin Horkin, produced a giant cheque for £1000 for Mike Stockman....or rather the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. This is the third cheque paid over by the Pet Role Trust to the Kennel Club following presentations in association with Blackpool Championship Show.

As the wine was decanted to glasses we were introduced to the next of our hosts, Tony Jo, a comedian who had recently finished a stint in no less a place than Vegas my dears; I trust we were an easier audience than they are reputed to be. He got things off to a cracking start and put us all in a jovial mood. Dinner was soon served and hardly had we finished than our next two hosts took to the podium. This was the presentation of the Golden Bone awards. Vince Hogan, no stranger to any of us stood left of stage and his cue was to announce the awards and the nominees.

Claire Parry-Baggott, Robert Walton and guests.

Right of stage we had Kevin Horkin, who introduced the ‘celeb’ scheduled to announce the winners. No one could accuse Mr Horkin of being murine and soon the superlatives were flowing faster than the wine. All the nominees names were projected onto a large screen; all very Hollywood and the ‘Oscars’. I don’t need to tell you who won what or even detail the celebs as this is covered in this spread. I will say a strong contingent from Corrie and Brookside was in evidence, Carla Lane too, and Madam Cynthia Payne, no recall there of the Manchester Tart and of course our own ‘celebs’ from the world of dogs.

Following the awards, it was announced that we would be shown the final of Pop Idol. Now that wasn't my cup of tea, although I appreciate it did appeal to many of the 200 strong audience; however, I did take the opportunity to use the facilities rather than see whether Will or Gareth was the winner!


Safely back in my seat we moved on to an auction with an array of goodies well worth putting a hand up for. A rare poster (signed) of David Beckham stripped to the waist seemed to have some of the girls swooning; and for all I know possibly some of the boys too. Hotel vouchers, rare photographs, even the hotel coat hangers went up for auction!

During the course of the evening three magicians known as ‘Men in Black’ individually went round the tables performing card tricks. Here, and publicly, I make all our apologies to the poor lad who ended up showing us his card tricks. I can’t even say we gave him a fair chance. Hardly landing at the table one of our number flirted outrageously with him and them Marion told him some of her jokes and he never did get his act together properly after that.

Valiantly he soldiered on until the tears of laughter rolled down his face and made all further headway impossible. At least he thanked us profusely for entertaining him and said we had been the hardest table he’d ever worked anywhere. Later on he returned again with more thanks to heap and to gather more ‘Marion’ jokes.

Maureen Hennis the Northern Director of PAT Dogs, Katie Boyle
and Lena Hamen the Southern Director of PAT Dogs.

Then it was time for the dancing; a disco, always the safest bet these days and the floor flooded with eager hip swivellers and duckers and divers. Sadly the ‘celebs’ mostly seemed to do a runner at this point and left it to the more stout hearted of us, which included our esteemed editor Mr Moores who shimmied on down with the best of them. At 2am a halt was called to the proceedings and a few of us still clung to our wine glass and our seats wanting even more.

Eventually perambulating to the foyer a clutch of us tried to cajole the hotel night staff to open the bar, this proved in vain and we settled for a complimentary tray of coffee and fruit juice. This should have put a damper on the evening but trawling in Lance, Melanie and Robert who were hotel guests on a Tesco conference kept the few bright lights still up on a second round of high jinks which ended finally at 5.30.

So you may ask just what is the Golden Bone all about. Well, having given you the meat of the evening I will not even try to avoid the pun and now give you the ‘bone’ of it all. The concept of the event is to award excellence in various fields relating to Dogdom, be it in the pedigree sector or indeed the cross bred. This is a chance for people to be rewarded and acknowledged for their input.

The think tank behind the choice of nominees looks at all aspects of work involving dogs from Petfood Manufacturers to breeders/ exhibitors, canine societies and individuals who have advanced the image of the dog. Dogs too get their rewards including dogs who have made a vast difference to someone’s life. For years those of us in the dog game have had recognition for the excellence of our stock in the Pedigree sponsored annual awards, but this competition goes beyond that and nods to the people behind those dogs. Also the people behind the various charitable organisations that promote the welfare of dogs and who unselfishly give their time and energies to making situations better for others.

So. I hope this has whetted your appetite to put your wellies away for one day and get out your gladrags for the next Golden Bone. In Britain often we are accused of having an unhealthy dislike of success in others, but at this evening I defy you to have withstood the sheer power of emotion that ran round the room. I’ll look forward to seeing you there next year.