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Mr John James

It is with great sadness that I record the passing of John James (Crensa) on 25th November 2004, following an illness which began after an appointment in South Africa, writes Roly Miller.

During his illness he had been in Kingsmill, Mansfield and Lincoln County hospitals.

Knowing John for almost 30 years, his gentle nature and knowledge of dogs made being in his company a wonderful experience. If you asked a question you knew you got the answer straight and unbiased, he was greatly honoured and proud to be asked to judge pastoral group at Crufts this year.

John who was always a gentleman will be greatly missed by all at Eastwood KA, the Bernese Mountain Dog and Samoyed fraternities.

There were Samoyeds in the family home for as long as John James can remember. His parents had them long before he was born. They were not exhibitors but always went to the top kennels for a puppy or stud. At one time they owned a litter sister to the famous Ch Kara Sa, the breed record holder until 1954.

In 1960 John registered the affix “Crensa” after purchasing a Samoyed puppy the previous year. Crensa was chosen and named after a white Chrysanthemum from his other great passion of growing exhibition ‘mums’, a hobby he still enjoyed.

From the original bitch a strong Samoyed line was established. In 1978 a Bernese Mountain Dog was added to the kennel, the second Bernese, Ch Temeraire Penny Black of Crensa became an icon of the breed in her day.

Altogether with his late wife Betty, fifteen champions bred or owned by them were made up and well over 100 ccs were amassed including the legendary Ch Grenadier of Crensa with 43 ccs.

Other breeds shown were an Old English Sheepdog, Pomeranian and German Spitz.

Over the years, John had served on the Samoyed association committee and was long time treasurer of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Great Britain. John joined the committee of Eastwood KA in 1978 for a short while before taking over as secretary, the position he held until his death.

John awarded CCs for the first time at Leeds in 1977 in Samoyeds, and was passed for 13 breeds in three groups and passed for the Pastoral and Working groups.

Overseas’ appointments had included, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, South Africa and the USA twice, the most memorable being the Bernese specialty there with a world record entry at the time of 527 dogs.

Crufts had always been a special favourite show for John and he had previously had the honour of judging Samoyeds, Bernese, Hovawarts, Alaskan Malamutes, Estrela Mountain Dogs, Australian Shepherds, Neapolitan Mastiffs and AVNSC Working, as well as stewarding for many years. He felt very privileged last march to be invited to judge the Pastoral group.

Funeral arrangements have been made for Monday 6th December 11.50am at Mansfield Crematorium. Flowers and further enquiries to Ken Gregory and sons. Tel: 01623-466620. Our deepest sympathy to John’s family - Joanna, Tony and brother Brian and to Sheila his wife.