It was a sad day for me when I heard of the passing of Olive Davies, of the Oldmanor Great Danes, at the age of 85.
I cannot remember the time when Olive was not around. My first recollection of was when I was allowed a day off from school to show at the first post-war Richmond Championship show, I think in 1946. A memorable show for anyone in Great Danes, for the judge was a pre-war pillar of the breed Beryl Lee Booker, mother of Dibbie Somerfield already a leading Boxer breeder in her own right.
Olive was with her mother Mrs Russell, and Olive was still Miss Russell, and they had with them a pretty golden brindle bitch called Dainty of Oldmanor, which would become the foundation of their very successful line. That day, I remember Mrs Davies worry, that the high cost of keeping a giant breed was so expensive at £1 (yes one pound) per week, that she feared for the future of the breed, as it would put it beyond the means of most people! How times have changed!
Not long after the Rev. Gwyn Davies came on the scene, and what was to prove a long and happy marriage, and the Oldmanor Danes becoming one of the most important kennels in the breed. Many of today’s successful breeders will find their dogs have their roots in Oldmanor blood, which was founded mainly on Ouborough and Winome breeding.
Olive was one of those people we all felt was indestructible and although the Oldmanor Kennels ceased some years ago, Gwyn and Olive still retained a close interest in what was going on n the world of dogs, judging and stewarding up until recent times.
Olive always spoke with authority and her views and opinion of the breed were highly regarded. Her integrity beyond question and for some years she chaired the Great Dane Combined Clubs before they became a Breed Council. Although at one time a member of all the Great Dane Clubs, it was the Great Dane Club that was the dearest to her heart and she had been both chairman and President.
I did feel after Gywn’s death when she lived on her own (which was her own choice) that on the occasions I spoke to her the old spark, that I knew so well in Olive, had gone. To her three sons and their families we send our condolences.
The funeral was held last Wednesday, at Rowington Church.