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Obituaries

Mrs Vi Elsworth


Vi Elsworth pictured with Sheila Jakeman at the special party held on her retirement
as Chow Chow Club Secretary

The sudden death on 12th April of Vi Elsworth, who was in her 85th year, creates a huge void within the Chow world. She was in hospital following a knee replacement operation which had gone well and a subsequent unconnected complication led to her death.

As a young woman she had worked for the late George Leatt at his Mill in Skipton, Yorkshire and this led her into helping with the administration for the local Canine Associations with which he was involved, thus she learnt the tasks which were to prove to be her vocation.

During the last war a transfer for her husband Doug to an RAF base in Bedfordshire forced them to leave her beloved Yorkshire. Post-war they settles there in the South and their son Terry was born into a household already having a couple of resident Chows. They rarely kept more than three bitches at a time; and never kept a male as Vi always felt, with restricted space, she could go and use the best stud dogs available, and thus keep a happy family of bitches.

The Miyun Chows were frequently shown though none reached the heights of becoming a champion in this country, but she was very proud of the two blacks she exported to her friend Mona Selbach in Norway which became Nor. Ch Miyun Ebony Boy-yo and Nor Ch M. Ebony Vicomtesse. Boy-yo also had a significant influence upon the Norwegian Chows in due course.

Vi joined the committee of The Chow Chow Club in 1956; a position she held for a while was Cup Steward, until she was elected to the post of Secretary in 1965. She devoted the next 40 years to the development of the Club and the breed in equal measure. The Club flourished and the events grew in line with all events in the canine world. She had great imagination and many innovations were due to her sowing the seed at a committee meeting.

The idea of a Chow of the Year Show evolved and was developed so that each year’s show was run by a different breed club in turn, but with a continuous administrator, a task Vi undertook with an enthusiasm and imagination which truly made the show the ‘Show of the Year’, this format was only changed upon insistence by the powers that be at the Kennel Club after well over twenty years and each club now runs its own event when it is their turn.

In the mid 1970’s she became the Chow representative on the council of the British Utility Breeds Association, and on the retirement of Mrs Ann Wynyard, she became Secretary to the Association, a position she held for 16 years, only retiring when her mobility difficulties made it hard for he. She was President of the Association and last year’s show was the first she had had to miss.

Her husband, Doug, died some years ago and at that time he was the only person who knew she was to judge the Centenary Crufts, an honour she was delighted to fulfil. She coped with his loss stoically - as she had learnt to do in her native Yorkshire, where women got on with things and didn’t suffer fools etc. At that time she had the support of her son, Terry and his wife. The sudden tragic death of Terry seven years ago was not so easy to come to terms with and she never truly recovered from that terrible loss. Not the easiest of ladies to get close to, many within the breed and the broader world of dogs counted her among their friends and no-one was more loyal.

She was always there to solve the problems for any Secretary and gave her help and guidance willingly. Totally efficient and organised at all times, and au fait with all the rules, she was an inspiration to many, and her love of her chosen breed was total. She was genuinely upset to hear of any exploitation of the breed and had very firm views on how they should be treated, She had been instrumental in establishing the Rescue Service back in the 1970s.

She had only recently retired from her role as Secretary to the breed club, and the membership had unanimously elected her as President, she had not yet attended an event in her new role, but I know she was pleased to have been honoured in this way and she had been in attendance at the last committee meeting held a month or so ago. She had been the Breed Note writer for Our Dogs for a great many years.

She went into hospital with very positive thoughts and she had more to do, but it was not to be. There are no close relatives, her ex daughter-in-law being the one person who remains, but the devotees of our breed owe her a great debt and everyone will mourn her passing.

On a personal note, she was my friend and mentor and for me there is now a huge gap in my life.
There will be a memorial service at 2.30pm on Tuesday 26 April at St Andrew’s Church, Biggleswade, Beds. This will be followed by refreshments at The Stratton House Hotel, London Road, Biggleswade, to which everyone is welcome. There will be no floral tributes but donations to the PDSA or Dogs for the Disabled may be made in her memory, on the day, or sent to Austins Funeral Directors, 96 Bancroft, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1NQ.

Sheila Jakeman


George Farmer

It is with great regret we record the death of George Farmer, a prominent figure in the dog scene of West Wales.

Under his affix, Gaylon, he bred and exhibited Golden Retrievers and Clumber Spaniels. He was very active and was the founder of the Aberporth Dog Club and one of the principal founders of the Golden Retriever Club of Wales. He leaves his wife Jean who supported him fully in all his endeavours.

The funeral was held on the 18th April 2005 at 2.30pm at Narbarth Crematorium, Pembs.


Mrs Liz Hewitt

IT WAS with great shock we heard that Liz had collapsed, then to be told she had died was too much to take in.

Liz had been a member of the Southern Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club for about 35 years and edited Dandie Lines for 10 years before taking a break for a couple of years, then taking over once again. She was elected onto the Committee in the mid 90s and became Chairman in 2001.
Liz always gave 101% to whatever task she took on for the Club. She was dedicate to the Dandie in every way. Over the past couple of years she had nursed her husband Jack, who himself was very ill, and yet still managed to attend committee meetings, shows and other Dandie functions. She took her role as Chairman very seriously.

We have not only lost a very loyal Officer and Club Member, some of us have lost a very dear friend.

The funeral took place at Hereford on Friday 15th April.

Sheila Linter & Jan Munson


Maureen Gerrie


Maureen handling a young bitch that she bred in 1988

MANY IN the Boxer world will have been saddened to have learnt of the death in hospital of Maureen Gerrie on March 20th.

Maureen was born in Scotland in 1939 and had her first Boxer bought for her by her husband Jim in 1957. She first started showing in 1962 and subsequently moved from Aberdeen to Norwich in 1963.

I first met Maureen in 1980 when the Broadland Boxer Training was first formed. In 1988 I bought Misty - Gerriough Heathers Pride of Glaswynd and through her came my introduction to championship shows. In 1991 Misty was mated to Ch Bailiga Rigoletto which produced Glaswynd Strike It Lucky (Isla) who Maureen handled at ch shows to her first RCC, an exciting day for us both.

Maureen and I started our long association in the show world with a car and roof rack, progressed to car and trailer, then the famous ‘Boxermobile’ which became her trademark! We travelled the length and breadth of the country including SKC and other farflung places.

Maureen was a superb handler and handled many Boxers for other people getting one CC and two RCCs with Symkong First Noel and one RCC with Millreach Moonlight Sonata. She also handled numerous other breeds over the years and got as much pleasure handling other people’s dogs as she did her own.

Boxers were Maureen’s first love but she loved all dogs whatever their breed. She devoted her life to her beloved Boxers and often said they kept her going. Possessing a great sense of humour, she was always willing to help newcomers to the world of dog showing.

Maureen taught me so much and I am proud to say I started off my championship show career with a Gerriough Boxer. She will be greatly missed by all in the world of dogs.

Heather Harvey


Harry Huddleston

Harry Huddleston, who has died aged 94, was a champion sheepdog handler and the first Englishman to represent his country abroad at sheepdog trials, made the first broadcasts from events and also expressed much of his life's work in verse.

Born on September 5 1910, the son of a farmer at Potts Yeats, Littledale, then a remote Pennine valley near Lancaster. Aged 13, he left nearby Brookhouse school to work for his father on the family farm, as had several generations before him.

When he was 26, he married Margaret Carter, a farmer's daughter, and took the tenancy of Stauvins Farm, two miles away. He competed in sheepdog trials during the summer, for in 1931 he had been given a Border Collie pup which shared a father with Tim and Tot, both of whom became International stars. The pup was a little bitch called Maddie, who founded a female line that was to last 13 generations and is still in evidence today.

Maddie's daughter (also Maddie) was registered with the International Sheep Dog Society under the prefix Udale, after a little stream rising on the high fells above the farm before descending to the River Lune, and thence into Morecambe Bay.

Udale Maddie won 50 first prizes, was third, fourth and fifth at National trials in the 1940s, and bred two English National winners - Udale Bet, at Keswick in 1953, and Udale Queen, at Carlisle in 1957. Harry Huddleston continued with this line, retaining only home-bred bitches mated to the best dogs in the neighbourhood. He never followed breeding fashions, nor did he travel long distances for a mating with the current International Champion Border Collie.

In the seventh generation, Udale Sim was born. A tall, smooth-coated black and white dog, Sim won the English National in 1972, and was reserve Supreme Champion at the International at Cottesbrooke that year.

Sheepdog trials were attracting larger audiences, and Harry Huddleston was called upon to give radio talks, which he did with aplomb. With Udale Sim he also represented England in the World Trials in New Zealand at Expo 73.

Huddleston farmed cattle and sheep until he retired to Brookhouse aged 65. There he retained some land on which to train his Border Collies. He competed in the Barbon Centenary Trials, and was still running dogs in his late eighties. When no longer able to walk, he conducted his last few trials from a battery car. His strain included slate blues, an unusual ‘colour’ in the Border Collie. He passed on his dogs and his skills to his son Tom, who won the English Brace Championship in 2004 with Udale Spring and Rosebud, who had run competitively only twice before.