As 2005 drew to an end the sad news came of the peaceful passing of Janice Pritchard (Charway). Some years ago Janice had fought cancer and come through it. But this time it wasn’t to be and although she fought bravely she couldn’t win this battle.
Back in October she showed under me and we joked about her not being ‘sound’ when moving. Amazingly it turned out that she had a fractured hip and had probably spent several weeks trotting around rings like this. How many of us could do that.
A few days later she went into hospital and the news was bad. The cancer was spreading rapidly. I went to see Janice and she was sitting in bed with lots of lists of things she was doing, or intended to do. No sitting back letting this thing take her over, she was determined to do as much as she could for as long as she was able. Her house was to be converted to suit her mobility and she had plans for a sunroom, something she had long wanted to do. She sensibly reduced her dog numbers and decided upon which would stay with her for as long as possible. Unfortunately she wasn’t to return home to her cottage and her dogs.
Janice came from the north east, starting in Labs at a young age. Her first bitch, produced a litter, in 1971, and in it was a black male who went to a pet home. Jan kept him in her name, showed him and he became her first title holder, Sh.Ch.Charway Nightcap. Some time later she bought in a black bitch Roseacre Hollyberry of C. A bitch very much of the type Jan aimed for, Ballyduff. Holly, when mated to Ch Timspring Little Tuc produced the beautiful black bitch. Ch.C. Little Sian. She also qualified for her full title and this was the start of Janice’s belief in the Labrador as a working dog. Sian’s grandson, Ch.C.Ballwill Will was an extremely influential sire, producing a number of title holders. He was a largish very scopy dog with the most wonderful effortless movement, as were many of the Charways. ‘William” was very successful in the ring, even winning a Group, once he filled his large frame. He was also the grandsire of Ch.Kupros Master Mariner, one of our outstanding producers, and grandsire, via Janice’s own C.Uncle Tom, of the titled Cambremer litter brothers, Tom Cobbley and Tom Sawyer. William also sired Ch.Charway Ballylinnet for the kennel. Another title winner for the kennel was Margot Woolley’s Sh.Ch.C.Blackthorn of Follytower. All these dogs were blacks. The Charways were nearly always blacks, although there was an occasional yellow in litters, but not kept. Although not a huge number of chocolates were bred they did have a big influence on improving the quality of the colour around the world. Many of the very best of the colour will have Charway breeding.
Janice was a full time teacher, and a very good one. She was extremely committed to her work, even to the point that if she was judging abroad at weekends she would arrange to return home the night after the show, or early the next morning and so go straight to work. Janice was a very intelligent lady, and was constantly working on some project or other. One of the most important things she worked on was the introduction of the present day hip scheme to the Labrador world. It was to provide us with much more information than the original hip scheme we had worked with for some years.
Janice had judged in many countries around the world, where her opinion was keenly sort.
Her last judging appointment in this country was at the WKC this summer. She had become a committee member of The Labrador Retriever Club in recent years, and had also written the breed notes in our contemporary for many years. Indeed I believe she was one of the best breed note writers, bringing up important subjects in great depth and we could believe what she wrote because of her great knowledge on many subjects. She was a great believer in what she did, her striving for perfection in everything she did could frustrate her on occasions. Everything had to be as good as she could make it. In the last few years Janice had started up The Labrador Retriever Club ‘show gundog working certificate’ day again, after it’s absence for many years. She found suitable ground, judges, everything to make the day as it should be. She encouraged people to try and train their dogs for it and was a staunch believer in Labradors having this chance to prove themselves.
In the last few years Jan had also developed a great interest in cats, and had set up a small cattery. She was successfully showing and breeding them alongside her dogs. At one time she owned a Pointer, who did some useful winning, and also some Norwich Terriers lived with the Labradors.
To us Janice Pritchard was a character, and there are few enough of those around these days. Her small kennel has had a big influence on the breed. Her opinion on all sorts of things was greatly sort and appreciated. She could speak her mind, but there’s nothing wrong with that when one knows that what she had to say was true and important. As a friend, and as a very well respected breeder/judge I think we are all very sorry that she has left us. No doubt she’ll be keeping an eye on what we’re doing.
Donations in the memory of Janice Pritchard should be sent to:- St. Johns Hospice, Clatterbridge Hospital, Clatterbridge Road, Bebington, Wirral, Merseyside, CH63 4JY