It is with regret that we record the death on Wednesday, June 20th of Dr Mason Minns after a brief illness bravely borne. He was 70.
A Kennel Club member since 1988 he had sat on the General Committee for the last ten years. He was a regular main ring steward at Crufts and despite his ill health still carried out his duties this year when the above photo was taken.
Educated in Sydney, Australia by profession he was a dental surgeon and latterly served on the Local Dental Committee and was a Department of Health referee for 25 years. Outside the world of dogs he was interested in motor sport.
Not only was he President and a former secretary of Beckenham CA and chairman of the Labrador Breed Council, but he was also a committee member and chief steward of Windsor show and chairman of the Sussex Spaniel Association - a breed in which he enjoyed considerable show ring success with his wife June.
The Kennel Club also had the benefit of his balanced views on various committees including the KCLC Regional Council, the Show Exuecutive Sub Committee, the Crufts Sub Committee and the Club Committee.
We extend our condolences to his wife June.
Dr Mason Minns was the Chairman of the Sussex Spaniel Association for the last five years. He was a loyal and active Chairman who was always keen to see the Association move forward with the times. His forte was administration and he took on the task of updating the Association’s Rules and also produced our annual judging lists; this required a lot of time and dedication, and was not an easy job. He worked and played hard being only recently retired from dentistry.
He and his wife June successfully showed their Labradors and Sussex Spaniels making up Show Champions over the years. Both had judging careers, and two years ago they returned to Mason’s homeland of Australia, to judge various breeds, including Sussex Spaniels. Mason also gave CCs in our Breed. June and Mason were always at the shows together, they were a team and their laughter and enthusiasm was infectious. He was a kind, considerate and gentle man who commanded respect. It was a privilege for me, to work with him as Secretary. Everyone in the Association will miss him. Our thoughts go out to his wife June and their relatives at this sad and difficult time.
Honorary Secretary - Sussex Spaniel Association
Mason came to England in 1962, ultimately establishing his own dental practice in southeast London, which is where he met June.
His hobbies and leisure interests, however, lay outside the dental profession. He was a keen and very able competitor in Kart racing, both in the UK and overseas and he used some of his sophisticated dental equipment to modify, polish and improve the gas flow ports on various competition engines used in the sport. He was team manager of the British Kart team when they raced in South Africa and his talents were recognised internationally. He was a featured contributor for the national monthly magazine ‘Karting’, having his own Mason Minns Column during the 1960s and 70s.
These interests broadened into the wider fields of international motor sport. He served on a Commission for the RAC motor sport for seven years, represented Africa at the FIA, motor sport’s world’s governing body in Paris, for 18 years, was an International Steward, and gave seminars on the FIA’s Competition Rules throughout Europe, the Far East and South America.
Whatever activity Mason agreed to undertake, it would be carried out meticulously. Second best was never an option for him – he earned for some of us the nickname of ‘Mister Quality Control’ and the care that he took in the preparation of any activity always showed in the final product of his efforts.
So many and varied have been the organisations that have benefited from Mason’s remarkable abilities but, however busy he was, he always retained the common touch, was ready to help anyone with a problem if he could, had a great sense of humour and a limitless fund of anecdotes and was a highly sociable person, ready to join in any celebrations with his friends.
Our deepest sympathies go out to June, Neil and Angela and to the other members of Mason’s family. We have all lost a remarkable man. We will miss his presence, but the happy memories of him will endure.
To many in dogs Mason will have been known as the Chief Steward at Windsor and there cannot be a person who was better fitted to undertake this post. With his ‘Aussie’ sense of humour and individual welcome for all his team, Mason gathered a strong and loyal following of stewards, putting Windsor in the position of never having to call for volunteers, in fact the Society often had more stewards on call than was needed, but Mason tried to accommodate them all. After the show Mason wrote personally to every steward thanking them for their support and he kept in contact with them throughout the year while at the shows.
There will be many who will never forget him for his kindness and quality as a person. For me he was my ‘no problem’ man - fit a new dog door, move a freezer, anything and everything was no problem. The charge as always the same, a tot of ‘special’ whisky and a chat.
Mason and June were a couple who complemented and supported each other in everything. Together they were ever helpful, hospitable and full of humour, it was a pleasure to be in their company and for June his loss must be immeasurable.
The funeral will take place on Wednesday, 11 July at 11.30 am at Eltham Crematorium, Falconwood, London SE9. Afterwards at the Holiday Inn, Black Prince Interchange (A2), Bexley, Kent. Flowers, or donations to St Christopher’s Hospice, to the funeral directors: W Uden & Sons Ltd., 64 High Street, Sidcup, Kent, DA14 6DS, tel 0208-300 2002