Obituary - Mr Don Christie

It is with deepest regret that I record the recent passing of my good friend and sometime mentor Don Christie (Jetsett) In late 1973, by our good fortune we were directed to Don and Gill Christie to buy an English Setter puppy, by Mr Harold Schofield of the Thrumall affix.

Christine and I visited Don and Gill in their home in Alford, Lincolnshire to view our prospective puppy. Don was in the RAF at that time and quite appropriate that he should have the ‘Jetsett’ affix, founded in the 60s on Thrumall/Mawdsley stock.

We underwent quite a rigorous interview as I recall by both Gill and Don and only when they were satisfied that we were reasonably responsible, were we allowed to take Emma home.
We had expressed a wish that we might like to show the English Setter puppy if she turned out all right. Don and Gill introduced us to Jetsett Canopus; both were adamant that she was something special.

We were supplied with everything that you would expect caring breeders to supply, from food, to written instructions and guidance on the importance of all aspects of the health and welfare of the breed.

From that day on we became like extended family and no-one was more pleased for us than they were, because that was the kind of people they were, when Emma became Sh Ch Jetsett Canopus of Oldfield.

I believe Don was a committee member, Secretary and later life member of the Northern English Setter Society, when he instigated their code of ethics and what now seems quite common place, at that time was reasonably rare. Don practised what he preached and was unequivocal that the code should be meaningful, taken seriously and acted upon by all members at all times.

Don and Gill like ourselves became founder members of the Midland English Setter Society (Mess) and Don was in fact the first Chairman. I always thought it was quite quirky that before we started each meeting Don would place the model of an English Setter on the table in front of him, the serious message of course to all of us was to remind us what we were all there for.

Don and the committee piloted many ground breaking and innovative ideas, which caused a ripple now and again in the English Setter world.

In 1991 he became the Patron of the Midland English Setter Society, in my view a just reward for his services.

He awarded CCs in the breed for the first time in 1984, coincidentally at the National Gundog Association and last awarded CCs in bitches at the Millennium MESS Championship show where he drew a record entry.

Sadly, Don and Gill’s only son was tragically killed in a motoring accident some years ago at a relatively young age and two years ago Don’s beloved Gill passed away, all too soon. Lesser men would have broken under the strain.

In true fashion, Don seemed to gather up the pieces and soldier on. He involved himself more with the Church and sadly he passed away suddenly and without warning whilst out playing golf, the game he loved.

Don was a true gentleman, a loving family man, a man of principle, honour and integrity, whose love for the things that he held dear knew no bounds.

The Northern English Setter Society and the Midland English Setter Society both benefited from his expertise at important times.

I send the condolences of all the English Setter people who knew and respected Don to his family.

Chris and Christine Bexon


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