Despite the fact that I have been aware that over the last few years Jayne Wilson-Stringer, of Horsley Basenji fame, was not in the best of health, I was still shocked and saddened to hear of her untimely death on Sunday 11 February.
The first time I saw Jayne was in the mid 60’s when I was a spectator at the Basenji ring. I spotted this elegantly attired lady in black jacket and skirt with white blouse who was showing a black and white Basenji, she then reappeared in a later class wearing a red jacket, still with white blouse and black skirt but this time showing a tri-colour dog and yet again she appeared in the bitch classes this time with red jacket, still with white blouse but with red skirt but this time showing a red and white bitch. I thought to myself that’s a lady with a lot of style.
I finally got to know Jayne and better than most when back in the 70s I was always benched next to her at the shows. As a novice exhibitor she taught me a lot about Basenjis. Jayne and I used to partake of the odd glass of wine and we smoked my cigarettes – she used to say ‘by far and away the best way to be a smoker is to smoke other people’s’! We chatted about everything and anything as well as about dogs and conversations were never dull, she had a sharp sense of humour sometimes quite bawdy.
I can remember at one show I found myself sat between Jayne and Princess Antoinette of Monaco, all of us clutching wine glasses and laughing at something rude that Jayne had just said. However when it came to dog talk Jayne was very serious and very knowledgeable and I learned a lot from her.
If in Basenjis the force to be reckoned with in the 40s, 50s and early 60s was Veronica Tudor Williams and her ‘of the Congo’ breeding then certainly in the 70s and 80s it was Jayne-Wilson Stringer and her ‘Horsley’ breeding.
Jayne’s first Champion was Black Buffy of the Congo a tri-colour dog whom I admired and so I got invited to the 16th birthday party Jayne held for him - because she admired him too. Jayne imported Black and White Basenjis in 1965 and from these bred the world’s first Black and White bitch Champion. She has won some 150 CCs and owned and showed 27 UK Champions including the breed record holder Ch. & Ir. Ch. Horsley’s Sir Kinkaid who himself won 40 CC’s and who in 1980 was twice BIS at All Breed Championship Shows at the SKC and in S. Ireland.
In recent years in partnership with Chris Frost of Bushwacker Basenjis her dogs have appeared in the show-ring but handled by Chris and Jayne has only made the odd appearance as a spectator at the Club shows.
Jayne first awarded Basenjis tickets in 1965 and went on to award CCs in the breed a further 22 times the last time being at Leeds in 1996. She should have judged them again in 2002 but had to withdraw because of ill health. She was approved to award CC’s in a number of other breeds as well in the hound group and judged often. Her last judging appointment was at SKC in the early 2000s where she judged BIS whilst in a wheelchair.
She produced along with the late Elspeth Ford two volumes of the ‘Basenji Champions’ from 1937 with pedigrees of each of the Champions produced under photographs of the dogs. She also began writing the breed notes for Our Dogs in the early 90s and continued doing this until mid 2005 when I took over as breed correspondent.
Jayne was a firm supporter of the Breed Clubs especially the Basenji Owners and Breeders Association where she was a stalwart committee member and at the time of her death was President. She had also always been a supporter of the Northern Basenji Society becoming their Patron in 2000.
I phoned Jayne from time to time and so she did me but perhaps not as often as we should have. The last time we spoke her wit was still as sharp as a needle and we had a laugh or two as we reminisced. I told her then that one of the things I always admired her for was her excellent manners in the ring - win or lose she always shook hands with the exhibitors around her and thanked the judge.
Jayne Wilson-Stringer really was a lady with ‘style’ and what ‘style’! I doubt we shall ever see her like again.
Mavis Hayward (Terrabrin)
I AM sorry to have to report the death of Mavis Hayward, following a long struggle against cancer.
Mavis had fought the disease with her usual good cheer, coming to Club shows whenever she was able and her friends were travelling there.
Mavis held the prefix Terrabrin and bred a number of Champions - the last dog I saw her showing was a Wheaten of which she was very proud.
Mavis had a number of tragedies in her life, but always managed to bounce back. To her daughter and grand children we offer our sympathy.
Maureen A Micklethwaite
Wendy Curtis (Leysand)
IT IS with deep personal regret that I report the death on February 1st of Wendy, following a 12 month battle with cancer which she fought with a determination and fortitude that has been an inspiration to her many friends, both inside and outside the world of dogs.
Wendy - with a long love of dogs, especially Golden Retrievers - was a top Junior Handler and competed at the Richmond Finals with her first Golden at 16 years of age!
Her wedding to Steve in mid-July last year, which featured a horse drawn carriage and her two young daughters, Melisa 4 and Imogen 6 as bridesmaids; was another highpoint of her life, following the unwelcome news at the beginning of the year. The wedding and year are part of a Channel 4 documentary to be shown later this year.
Wendy was born in August 1953, and she pestered her parents until a Golden puppy was purchased from a ‘local paper’ advert. Her father then had to chauffeur Wendy and puppy to all local shows, where she competed in breed and Junior Handling classes, handling with great success.
Wendy registered the Leysand affix and bought a show prospect bitch puppy from Hilda James, Jamescroft Gabriella of Leysand, who when mated to a local dog that Wendy had competed against with Abbey (Ron and Madge Bradbury’s Styal Souvenir of Nortonwood), produced Wendy’s first homebred showdog, Leysand Adam. He hit the highspots with Best Puppy awards and later BOBs at open and champ shows, first and seconds and Stakes wins.
Wendy’s father had her driving on her 17th birthday and following a successful test a small van for the dogs was purchased! I know her parents were delighted when she met Steve and Imogen came onto the scene, as their daughter had until then only produced puppies!
This year Wendy attended Boston and Manchester to see her latest JW winning bitch, Rosscara Keeper of Secrets, who descended from Adam, being shown by one of her many friends. Her attendance was a great personal challenge, but she told me how much she had enjoyed Manchester, in particular seeing so many old friends, so shortly before her final days.
Wendy also bred and showed American Cockers, and recently bred a litter of Pugs, which are daughter Imogen’s particular favourites.
I, along with many others, send my condolences and thoughts to Steve, young daughters Imogen and Melisa and her parents at this time.
At Wendy’s funeral, which was held on Wednesday 14th February at Redditch Crematorium, everyone was requested to wear a pink item and Wendy’s coffin was pink and arrived in a glass carriage pulled by white horses!