On the 13th January this year the funeral of Madge Bradbury was held at St. Patrick’s Church, Earlswood, exactly 10 years to the day since on a bitterly cold day we paid our last respects to Ron Bradbury.
Ron and Madge held the Nortonwood affix and although Nortonwood is not one of the oldest affixes it is however, one of the most important in Golden Retrievers. I doubt there are many pedigrees today that do not incorporate one of the Nortonwood dogs. Nortonwood Faunus, in particular, was a pre-potent sire who gave much to the breed.
Indeed, the Nortonwood Kennel was synonymous with quality and soundness, both at home and abroad. Nortonwood was also a boarding kennel and Ron would often have other gundogs to stay from show kennels so that he could get to know the breed; an insight he found invaluable when judging. Although goldens were their first love in the Nortonwood kennel, Ron and Madge also bred flat coats which included at least one champion.
In the early years Nortonwood Kennels was the meeting place for gundog training and during the long summer evenings, whistles and shots rang out until it was dark when Ron and Madge would then host a barbecue. Gundog enthusiasts would sit around discussing the merits of the breeds.
Ron and Madge were generous and well respected hosts and these, and many other occasions, were much enjoyed by golden retriever owners, gundog specialists, all rounders and overseas visitors. The talk was always of dogs and the depth of knowledge brought to these evenings was remarkable.
It was Ron’s dream that a Golden Retriever Club for the Midland region should be established and with the support of a few dedicated people, especially the late Mr. Owen Grindey, the Midland Golden Retriever Club was founded. The Club flourished under Ron’s Chairmanship and after many years of dedicated service, Madge became the Patron in 2005.
It is impossible to package the Nortonwood Kennel into a few short paragraphs. Nortonwood dogs and their progeny have won the very top awards worldwide and both Ron and Madge were respected judges from as close to home as Solihull, to as far away as Russia and Australia. We remember also Ron’s work for the Birmingham City Show, but it is for their warmth and generosity and the love of the Golden Retriever that we most remember Ron and Madge Bradbury. They were our friends. They are and will be sadly missed.