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Obituary: Pauline Gibbs  (Montravia)

When I was asked by Marita to write an obituary for her mother, Pauline, I thought - oh dear where do I start! So I shall start at the beginning.

Pauline was born on the 22nd March 1925 & had an older brother Ronnie. She had a love of animals. She met Peter when he was in the Airforce & they were married on 9th March 1954 & were living on the airbases wherever his squadron were based. On the Base they were only allowed a few Miniature Poodles with them but by this time the show-bug had taken hold.

With three children (Colin, Graham & Marita) & plenty of dogs Peter came out of the Service at the end of 1958 & the family found a home at Colboys, a pre-Elizabethan house. The next year the first Montravia champion was born, a black Miniature. This was Ch Montravia The Trojan. He won his first, & their first ever, CC at Crufts in 1961 (handled by Pauline) & he gained his title the same year. He was followed by Ch Montravia Sibon Lady of Spain in 1962 & then Trojans son Ch M Gay Debonair & Ch M Anna Marie in 1965. The first Toy Champion was a white bitch Ch Montravia Tuttlebees Winter Moonglow who titled in 1965 followed by her daughter Ch M Dream Time in 1971.

Standards were now a feature of the Montravia household & Marita was handling many of the dogs. A bitch had been bought from Marilyn Willis, Springett Dark N Endearing at Montravia went to live with Shirley Walne & Cambray Coppage where they made her into a champion. She produced Ch Montravia Dark N Dreamy who was Pauline's first standard champion. Next came the imported male Ch & Am Ch Acadia Nevermore Neville. Marita actually owned their first Standard group winner, Ch Camellbois Dream.

Miniatures & Toys were now back in the ring with Marita's own Toy Ch Montravia Spring Flamenco & then the Miniature duo owned by Pauline, Ch Montravia Midnight Marksman & Ch Montravia Lavinas Snow Blanche who won her first group in 1978

The next Standard to gain her title was Ch Montravia Gay Martini. She was followed by the first BIS winner, Ch Montravia Gay Gunner who won BIS at East of England in 1981.

Afghans were always an important part of Montravia life. Marita had always done very well as a young handler with Montravia Bondor Bolero, the uncrowned champion, but it was the brindle, Ch Montravia Kaskarak Hitari, owned by Pauline, handled by Marita who really made the Montravia name a household one when "Alfie" won BIS at Crufts in 1983. Almost unbelievably just two years later the Montravias were back at the top again, this time with the black Standard Ch Montravia Tommy Gun, bred by Clare Coxall, originally owned by Pauline, but now owned & handled by Marita.

This mother & daughter combination was spectacular with Peter always in the background doing a lot of the groundwork & the driving! Another superb achievement in 1983 was at the Pedigree Finals when they had 4 dogs qualified! Three were in the Champions Stakes (Gunner handled by Marita, Tommy Gun handled by John Marshall & Alfie handled by John Nichols) & Snow Blanche was in the Veterans. I don't believe that this has been done by anyone else since.

Pauline loved dogs, lots of dogs. She wanted the best in whatever she had. Bichons produced Ch Montravia Snow Dream & Ch Montravia Persan Make Mine Mink who sired Ch Tiopepi Mad Louise at Pamplona owned by Michael Coad.

In all Pauline owned 30 different breeds from Shelties, Westies, Poms etc.,etc. - as Marita said - "this just typifies my mother"

The Champion poodles kept our showrings busy. By now Marita was doing all the handling. There was another white Miniature Ch M Shoremel Irish Lad; the group winning Toy & POTY qualifier, Ch Manimar Man at M; the black standards - the lovely bitch & multi group winner, Ch Star of a Gun at Montravia; the BIS winning Ch Leander Stockbroker at M; Group winner Ch Top Gunner at M; BIS winner Ch M Distant Gun;the whites - Ch M Donna Lisa (multi group winner) Ch M Don Carlos,  Ch M Don Fernando (white) who won BIS at the "snow" show @ LKA; Group winner Ch M Don Jose; the imported Ch Baybreeze Prince of Tides at M who won Groups & RBIS, Ch M Donna Rosanna at Waseley.

Marita had also bred the dog which she & Pauline co-owned, Ch Montravia Royal Rumour who was a son of Prince & Ch Montravia Guns N Gossip (Res Group) Denzil was another POTY plus PetPlan Junior Stakes qualifier. He couldn't enter the Pedigree Stakes as Marita was married to Ian Rodgers who worked for Pedigree, infact none of the dogs after Star of A Gun could be entered at these Stakes owing to the family connections. Of course, Peter & Pauline were always invited to these celebrations, which they greatly enjoyed. Royal Rumour's white daughter Ch M Risky Rumour was also a Group winner & is the youngest Standard to become a champion at 12 & half months.

Pauline bred champions & group winners for other people. There were Ch Gunfighter at M; Ch M Rebel Gun; Ch M Gunshot at Pamplona; Ch M Donna Rosa of Namkia; to name a few.

Pauline Gibbs had a good eye for a dog & awarded CCs in all three sizes of Poodles, Afghans & Bichons. She finally got her reward to judge at Crufts in 2003, the breed was Toy Poodles - 20 years after first winning BIS there. She was an All Breed Open Show BIS judge. Throughout the years, both she & Peter judged in many countries across the world.

Peter & Pauline have made several moves with the dogs. From their first home at Colboys they moved to Markyate & then to Sentry Hill. Later they moved to Weirwater & lastly to Doncaster.
Following Peter's death, Pauline moved into accommodation with Marita & Phil Freer in Newark.

But after seven months she decided that she wanted more dogs than there was room for, so being "stubborn" she moved once more, this time to Chesterfield. She passed away peacefully at home with her dogs around her on 1st March. She was not alone as her staff were there & they called for the ambulance & Marita & Phil went straight away, but sadly she had gone.

To Marita & Phil, Pauline's brother Ronnie, her sons Graham & Colin, grandchildren David, Ryan, Katie & Caroline & the new great-grandchild & all Pauline's family our condolences.

The funeral will take place on Wednesday 15th March at 12 noon. The service will be held at All Saints Church, Gainsborough Road, Winthorpe NG24 2NR this will be followed by burial & Peter's ashes will be placed with her coffin. They will finally rest again together. Afterwards there is an invitation to The Red House, Main Street, Kelham NG23 5QP Flowers can be sent to : Lincolnshire Co-Operative Ltd., G E Rose, Beacon Hill Road, Newark, Notts NG24 1NT

RIP Pauline
Elizabeth Holmes-Leak