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The Midland Bedlington Terrier Club

On the long, dark evenings of winter, one often thinks of the summer to come and last winter, at the AGM of The Midland Bedlington Terrier Club, it was decided to hold a Fun Day in July to enable non-show people to come together and meet other owners, writes Hefin Jones.

April was warm and sunny and we decided that Brailes Village Hall was the perfect venue with its large recreation field, close to the centre of the country and with good access to the M40.

Committee members and supporters spent the first half of the Show season pleading with stall holders for donations to use as prizes and collecting items for the raffle. During an impromptu talk at Southern Counties, a lady showing Poms overheard the discussions and offered to donate rosettes for Junior Handling and bought us a bag of dog food.

A timetable of events were posted on the net and it was decided to set up a camp site on Brailes recreation field with many visitors staying for up to a week to take in the Fun Day. Then it rained and rained and rained!

We knew that we had people coming from all over the country and the field had become so wet that only tents were permitted but we were determined that the the show would go on and alternative camp sites were found.

After driving through floods on the M50 in torrential rain on the Thursday,we arrived at Brailes and the rain stopped only to start again on Saturday after we had packed up. Someone had taken pity on us!

A full programme of events was possible including agility competitions, clicker training, heelwork to music, trimming tips, races, a fun dog show fancy dress and finally a demonstration of terrier racing.

The sun shone, everyone joined in the fun and the day was a great success. By the early afternoon I was able to count over 70 Bedlingtons on the field while others rested in their cages in the shade. There were about 30 other dogs there including a handsome lurcher, whippets and a rescued greyhound.

It was a great opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones, both human and doggie. Early in the day Madeline Ahearn arrived and asked to see Fizz whom she had last seen in the Swansea Show when she was a bundle of black fluff. Four years later Fizz is a champion and Madeline has her own Bedlington, Tofsett Thambi Tondu. She had come with the MP for Redcar, Vera Baird who had brought her famous Bedlington ,Zack, the Westminster dog of the Year winner in 2004. He is nearly 13 years old and blind and it was inspirational to see how he got around. He looked as if he enjoyed himself and even had a haircut.

Erica Hyde conducted the Good Citizen's Bronze Award test and had a 50% pass rate. The "stay" proved to be the most difficult task but those that did not succeed have pledged to do more training and have another go.

Lesley Caines and Jaquie Stevens gave agility demonstrations and judged a shortened agility course. The fastest dog was Ralphie owned by Ed and Rebecca Evans. Our Larry came second despite being nine years old.

Finn and Lucy were joint first in Junior Handling 6-10yrs. and Amber took the first 11-16yrs. Amber also won the Ken Bounden statuette of a Bedlington for the most entries in competitions.

The fancy dress was won by Tina Welsh as Mini Ha Ha and her Bedlington Tribe complete with feathered headdresses. A close runner up Was Sara Collier with her Bedlington resplendent in her Marilyn Monroe dress.

We had two photographers present, David Paton from Our Dogs who was going into hospital on the following Monday and Jon Caines who runs the website Bedlington Pictures. Jon is recovering from a fractured pelvis and took his photos from a wheelchair. My personal thanks to them and wishing them both a speedy recovery.

Finally, I can report that it was a truly a fantastic Fun Day. We made a profit and which is going to be donated to the "Hope Appeal" for veterinary research at Cambridge University into animal cancers.

My heart felt thanks to all who came and to all the hard workers who made the day such a success.