Miss Joan Gill
It is with the greatest sadness that I report the death of Joan Gill of the Westley and Standerwick Golden Retrievers. Joan passed away peacefully on the 18th of this month, after a short illness, at the age of 90. Having been great friends with her for over 55 years she will be sadly missed by myself and everyone in the breed who knew her, and our sympathy goes to those close to her.
For many years a respected member of the Golden Retriever Club’s Committee, she has been its President for several years, and it was in this capacity that she was at this year’s Club Championship Show, giving out the Trophies. She was also on the Committee of the LKA for many years, and had given CCs in our breed many times.
A truly great advocate of the dual purpose Golden, Joan was held in great respect and affection by us all, and the legacy she has left us, with her great achievements in Goldens, must last for ever, with her Westley Affix, and with the Standerwick one she took out later with Daphne and Mervyn Philpott, for the field trial dogs.
Joan had her first Golden before World War 2, but her first Champion was made up soon after the War in Ch.Susan of Westley, and this bitch's wins in Field Trials started her enthusiasm for working her dogs. One of her great records must be in having bred the last of the only three post-war Dual Champions in the breed in David of Westley.
The Westley lines influence has spread throughout the world from the many exports, with Champions in many countries., and with a record of 31 U.K. Westley Champions over a period of nearly 60 years (the last being only a few years ago), the name of "Westley" will live on.
Some of the top winners Joan had were Ch.Simon of Westley, Ch.Camrose Nicolas of Westley (a Ch.Show Best in Show winner) and Ch.Pippa of Westley (all of these had Field Trial awards). In the 1970’s Joan took Daphne and Mervyn Philpott into partnership with the Westley prefix (as well as that of Standerwick) and between them they bred the greatest brood bitch the breed has ever known in Ch. Westley Victoria who was the dam of no less than eight Champions, one of which, Ch.Westley Mabella,.was a Ch.Show Group winner.
As well as the 31 Westley Champions (which included the Dual Champion) there was also FT Ch. Holway Teal of Westley, 1 Standerwick Champion, who won many FT awards, and 5 Standerwick FT Champions.. With so many Champions, a Dual Champion and the other FT Champions surely this must be a record in the breed which may never be broken.
It seems like the end of an era with the sad loss of Miss Joan Gill. She was the founder of the famous "Westley" kennel of Golden Retrievers, established in 1936, and which some years later, she shared with (the late) Daphne Phillpott and her husband. She had recently celebrated her 90th birthday in great style with two days of Open House parties.
The incredible successes with her Goldens in both the show ring and the field will no doubt be reported by others, and also her association with so many Breed Clubs and Societies.
For 14 years, and until her death, she was President of the Golden Retriever Club, having served as a Committee member many years before She was involved in all our events and it was very rare for her to miss a Committee meeting. Her experience and advise on all subjects, be it for the running of the Club, its working or show side, judges sub-committees etc. was invaluable. She hosted the Field Trial sub-committee meetings at her home, keeping a lively interest in the choice of judges and grounds. She was fully supportive of the GRC Executive Committee and we respected her views and continual advise and wisdom.
She was a huge influence to many people in the Golden Retriever world and she will be greatly missed.
Sue Almey (Chairman GRC)