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Obituary - Gillian McDowell 1937 - 2006

It is with great sadness I have to report the recent death of Gillian McDowell. Gillian died peacefully on October 25th having been very ill for about three weeks. Her husband, Rodney, says that her family were the overriding love of her life and she had the great joy of meeting her new grandchild only ten days ago, writes Wendy Jackson

Gillian had many interests and talents but will be best remembered in the world of dogs for her Knockfinn Basset Hounds. Again Rodney tells me that she bred them for upwards of 45 years and they included 25 Irish Champions, two English Champions, an International Champion and a Portuguese Champion. She was Secretary of the Basset Hound Club of Ireland for almost 25 years and at one time a member of the Council of the Irish Kennel Club.

Together she and Rodney bred the first litter of Pharaoh Hounds in Ireland and exhibited them with success. They also owned, bred and exhibited Miniature Wire Haired Dachshunds and two of these were Gill's constant companions and went everywhere with her.

Gillian founded the Hound Association of Ireland and served as Secretary from its inception. This has flourished and the numbers of hounds exhibited has increased year on year. There are now two Group Championship shows annually and at the one held at the beginning of the Munster Circuit in August there has been an impressive list of international judges. The May show has always been intended to promote first time and progressing Irish judges whenever possible and has proved almost as popular as the one in August.

Talking of judges Gillian herself was a very well respected international judge and judged many breeds at the highest level all over the world. From as far away as Australia, South Africa and Russia to countries nearer home like Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Holland and Portugal she travelled with enthusiasm and was always eager to report on the pleasure certain dogs had been to judge and delighted when they confirmed her opinion and achieved further awards.

Her bubbly personality and sense of humour will be much missed. Donations can be made to the Irish Cancer Fund, Mater Hospital.