Obituary - Norman Johnston
It is with sad regret that we have been asked by the family to announce the death of Mr Norman Johnston of the Doddsline Lancashire Heelers, known to many as "Mr Lancashire Heeler"; Norman grew up on his parent’s farm in Aspull Lancashire, the village where he was to live the rest of his life. At the age of nine he started breeding Lancashire Heelers under the Pennington affix when he married he continued living at his parents’ farm in the cottage next door. He then brought Dodds Farm, nearby and it was suggested that he use the Doddsline affix after the farm, an era had begun.
Norman lived for his dogs and his dogs for him, he had a wonderful way with them and they acknowledged it. It was amusing to see the antics they got up to in the yard with him.
As far as Norman was concerned anyone who showed an interest in his dogs was a friend to be helped in any way he could and there are may people in the breed today that owe a lot to Norman for his generous help and guidance.
In 1999 the breed was awarded CC’s and Norman won best dog with Doddsline Kristen at Crufts that year under Anne Arch, being the first in the breed to be awarded a CC with his father Doddsline Lord gaining the reserve best dog. Kristen went on to become the first male champion in the breed an honour that Norman was extremely proud of. Additionally Norman’s dogs have held the award of top stud dog for many years the present dog to hold the award being Doddsline Kristen aged 12 years. He has campaigned the breed tirelessly up and down the country giving good entries at open and championship shows.
Over the years Norman was acknowledged by all who met him as being an asset to the breed, this included very many veterinarians who would discuss many aspects of the breed with him.
When visiting Normans’ home one was aware of a very warm-hearted man who lived for his dogs he has a treasure trove of Lancashire Heeler memorabilia dating back over the years, all which is to be preserved.
Sadly, over the years Norman suffered ill health having contracted Polio as a child and being diagnosed as a haemophiliac. Norman was a member of the haemophilia society serving on their committee for many years, assisting in raising funds for the society. He also acted as a councillor to families affected with the condition, visiting their homes and explaining the condition, and how he had learnt to live with it.
Recently he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, a condition he was never to recover from he desperately needed a new hip but surgeons were unable to operate due to the fact that Norman had leg ulcers. The cancer eventually spread to his bones, unfortunately he had a fall a short while ago injuring his shoulder this made it even harder for Norman to get about and due to the haemophilia internal bleeding occurred. On the 23rd November, Norman was admitted to Manchester Royal Infirmary where he died at 3am on the morning of the 4th December, Norman we will miss you dearly, the show rings will not be the same without you. God bless.
Ian & Elizabeth Gordon and Kay Critchlow