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Mrs Eileen Mace

Eileen Mace died peacefully on 8th July aged 80. She had been suffering from cancer. She was buried at St Mary’s, Sheering, in a lovely spot overlooking open countryside, following a very special and moving service attended by her family and many friends.

During the war, Eileen had been a Land Girl, a job which suited her love of nature and animals so well. She was always accompanied by her collie. In the early years of her marriage to Les, while she was raising her family, the dogs in her life were Staffies.

Eileen had always been fascinated by tales of polar exploration with, of course, a special interest in the Huskies. Gussie (Abbotsmill Angus) was Eileen’s first Husky, bred in 1953 by Peter Miller who also bred waterfowl. He eventually conceded that Huskies and ornamental birds were not a good mix. Gussie had already had two homes when Eileen took him at five months. He taught her an awful lot about Husky nature.

When taking Gussie to shows Eileen met up with other owners. It was the time when Whipsnade and other zoos were breeding and selling Husky pups which, as they grew, gave their owners problems. Many dogs were put down before their first birthday. Eileen and a few other owners who had managed to cope found themselves advising on care, feeding and general management. And it was this little group of owners who founded the Husky Club of Great Britain in 1958, primarily to help new owners better understand the breed and hopefully reduce the need for re-homing or destruction. The Samoyed Club gave space in their magazine for Husky news which Eileen wrote for several years.

Eileen was, and had been for some time, the last surviving founder member of the Husky Club (which later became the Eskimo Dog Club of GB, and much more recently The Greenland Dog Club of GB). She knew all the old breeders, like Mr Penney and the Waterhouses. She was on the committee from the start until just a few years ago when she was elected as Vice President. Even when husky-less, she was still a staunch supporter of the Club and its activities. She visited Winterberg for sled dog racing before the sport began here and enjoyed trips to Aviemore for the sled dog events put on by The Siberian Husky Club. She was in the parties that twice visited Denmark and Norway to see the dogs when other members were considering importing. A dog she particularly enjoyed in the last few years was the club’s 35th birthday party attended by Sir Vivian Fuchs president of the club since beginning.

Eileen’s main concern was always welfare and following her Husky days has taken in several needy greyhounds and a smooth collie. As well as animals she loved history and architecture. She was thrilled to visit the Mary Rose and could imagine herself back in time when visiting estates or stately homes. She was a very kind person and never had a harsh word to say about anyone. Yet she stood up firmly for what she believed was right.

She leaves her husband Les, sons Colin Tony and Tim and daughter Jackie and five granddaughters to whom everyone who knew her will want to extend their sympathy. As a pillar of the club for so long and much respected for her experience and knowledge over so many years, she will be much missed and as a good friend.

Janet Ward