Claude Edward George (Marshmarks)
Claude George, one of East Anglia's well-known canine enthusiasts, passed away unexpectedly on New Years Day after a short illness.
Born in Holbeach, Lincolnshire in the 1920's, he went to school in Holbeach and completed his education at Moulton Grammar. He responded to the Nation's Call to Arms at the first opportunity and by the end of World War Two was flying with the Fleet Air Arm. He left the services in 1946 and worked for several years at the Spalding Auctions. Claude's interest in plants and a love of flowers led him to a career in farming; he had a smallholding in the Holbeach area for most of his life, where he grew bulbs, vegetable and cereal crops.
However, Claude's lifelong interest was with dogs. By the time he was eight he had his first dog - a Cocker Spaniel - thereafter he graduated to breeding, showing and judging, ably supported by his wife Tracy - a Championship show judge in her own right. His favourite breeds, in which he awarded Challenge Certificates, were Clumber Spaniels and Irish Setters.
Claude started showing Clumbers in 1976 and awarded Challenge Certificates in the breed for the first time in 1989. His kennel, MARSHMARKS, bred both Clumbers and Setters with some notable successes. Clumber Show Champion MARSHMARKS MINNETONKA OF TOPJOYS (pictured above/below) owned by the late Faith Gilham, won its title in a record 367 days amassing a total of 27 CCs (13 in l987 alone) making her a breed record holder at that time. He also bred the Clumber Show Champion MARSHMARKS MISSY and the Irish Setter World Champion MARSHMARKS MIRZA. Claude judged most of the other gundog breeds with out CC's as well as several breeds in the Terrier, Toy and Utility Groups. Over the years Claude was actively involved with several clubs and societies as chairman, secretary and treasurer. In particular the East Midlands Canine Society and the Clumber Club as well as setting up the East Anglia Region of the Irish Setter Breed Club. Additionally for a number of years Claude was the Breed Note correspondent for the Clumber Spaniels in Our Dogs.
In the early 80's he embarked on another venture with his long time colleague the late Jim Conway; the formation of a new gundog club. The East Anglian Gundog Society (EAGS) was conceived with Claude at the helm in 1984 and had its inaugural show in 1985. Despite a few hiccups in the early years, such as the cancellation of the 1987 Autumn Show due to a hurricane, his personal enthusiasm, perseverance and guidance laid down the foundations of today’s flourishing society. He remained secretary for some thirteen years only standing down in 1998 when the society was fully established. Even after retirement he maintained his interest in the Society attending shows whenever possible. Although retired from show management he continued to farm his smallholding in Lincolnshire and found time to manage several public houses in the Peterborough and Bristol areas.
His burial at Holbeach on 12th January 2005 brought him full circle back to his place of birth. He was, indeed, an East Anglian man from start to finish. A sad loss to the canine scene in East Anglia - a loss that can never be replaced. Our thoughts are with Tracy and his children Jennifer and Daniel.
Chris Hill, Chairman EAGS