~ a tribute by John Williams
It was with great sadness that I learned, first, of the death of June Lawrence (formerly June Bond) on 11th April, followed shortly afterwards on 5th May by her husband, Fred Lawrence.
Both were in their 92nd year. They were, in their way, pillars of the Kennel Club staff who devoted themselves unstintingly from the 1940s to the mid-seventies to the service of the Kennel Club. Loyalty was their watchword.
Comparatively few now in the world of dogs will have known them personally. They were long-term club servants, to use the old-fashioned phrase only recently removed from the Constitution of the KC, through the years of Chairmen Croxton Smith, Air Commodore Allan Cecil-Wright and Sir Richard Glyn, through the years of KC Secretaries Ted Holland Buckley and Charles Binney - and I had the benefit of their invaluable experience and contributions in the last few years of their employment and the pleasure of their continuing friendship afterwards.
June first married Reg Bond, a splendid man in the same mould, who joined the Kennel Club staff in 1937 and became House Manager. She joined him later as Assistant House Manager and, with her cheerful, efficient and ever helpful personality, endeared herself to the KC members and the staff with whom she constantly came into contact in the Clubhouse.
But best of all was her vitality and the enthusiastic way in which she joined her husband in the general running of the establishment. They were a co-ordinated team which dealt with a mass of differing detail and included, amongst other things, providing weekday lunch and facilities for KC members and the 100-strong staff, maintenance and security of the Clubhouse, arrangements for daily cleaning and care of the many rooms and offices whilst coping with the constant stream of demands and requests from all sides. Their planning and accounting, always immaculate, was carried out after club and office doors had closed for the day and at weekends.
June retired from her position in 1974, and Reg, suffering at the time from ill health, retired a year later, after 38 years of service with the Kennel Club.
Fred Lawrence, known to most as Lawrie, was another stalwart. He joined the KC staff after being demobbed from the Royal Navy immediately after the Second World War, and worked initially among the stacks of small wooden drawers which at that time held the vast card index of the Registration Department, long before the more convenient layout installed later in the present building or the modern times of touch-type computerisation.
Quite soon, however, his organisational talents were recognised and during his subsequent 30 year span with the Kennel Club Lawrie became Crufts Show Manager; he was responsible for the compilation and production of the Kennel Club publications (Kennel Gazette, Year Book, Stud Book and Breed Records Supplement); he organised the bulk of the considerable printing commitment and the stationery - and much more, as they say.
Always ready to get involved when problems arose, Lawrie was a tremendous right-hand man. Meticulous with his paperwork and unfailing in his memory, he was astonishing in his uncanny ability to retrieve an urgently needed letter from his files at the drop of a hat. And one of his incidental but vital and largely unknown commitments, again before computers came the Kennel Clubs way, was the organisation of a small cottage industry of Enfield housewives who, in their homes, month after month, painstakingly sorted the many thousands of flimsy carbon copies of dog registrations, transfers, export pedigrees and so on for despatch to the printers of the Breed Records Supplement.
Lawrie retired in 1976, but shortly before that he was given special dispensation by the KC General Committee to assist the Ladies Kennel Association, which was having great difficulty in filling the post of Show Manager. It was a role he was persuaded to continue for some fifteen years - until the 1990 LKA show !
Both June and Lawrie were elected Honorary Members of the Kennel Club on their retirement, and it gave me much pleasure when they married in 1983 (Reg Bond having sadly died some years earlier) and they lived happily together for the next twenty years. I am sure that many will join me in sending deepest sympathy to the families of both. They did a very great deal for the world of dogs.
Lawries funeral will be held on Monday,19th May at 11.0 am at Woking Crematorium.
Anyone wishing to send flowers or make a donation to charity can send them to the funeral directors, Lodge Brothers, 104 Station Road, Addlestone, Surrey, Tel 01932829929.
Charity donations to Macmillan Cancer Relief, please.