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Obituary - Mrs Diana Fitt-Savage

It was the mid 70s that both Diana and husband Tony were committee members of The British Chihuahua Club. With Tony becoming Vice-Chairman in ’78 and Chairman in ’82, while Diana became acting Secretary in late ’79, and Secretary in ’81.

It was in ’79 while Diana was still a committee member, she (along with Eileen Goodchild) represented the BCC at the joint committee meeting of all the chihuahua clubs on the ballot results and breeders concerns as to the continued interbreeding of the two varieties of coat.

Diana’s first chihuahua was a smoothcoat son of the great International Champion Seggiden Tiny Mite. Over the years Diana had a fair amount of success showing both longcoats and smoothcoats. The Dolandi’s first champions was a’double’affair winning both the dog & the bitch cc, and making Godolphinsson and his half-sister Bobble into champions at Manchester in 1980. Twinkle Belle was made up in ’89 followed by Champion Velena Ventures To Dolandi (bred by Diana’s friend Mrs.Ronnie O’Brien) being made up in ’99. Although these champions were all longcoats, Diana had no preference as to which coat she thought most favourably.

Diana awarded CCs in both varieties including judging the smoothcoat entry at Crufts 2003, she also awarded CCs in Japanese Chins of which she kept a few. She and Tony had judged abroad on several occassions.

Leading a busier than normal life-style, Diana who was at one time an associate member of the Kennel Club, was also the Breed Note writer for Our Dogs for many years, having taken over the task from another breed specialist Dorothy Garlick back in the early 90s. An avid gardener, Diana loved growing orchids, fuschias and african violets. She also enjoyed keeping Koi carp in the garden pond. Every year the Sandringham estate would hold a flower show which was attended by the Royal family. Diana would enter the various competitions with her cakes, plants and needlework.

It was in 1986 on the train journey home from the BCC AGM meeting that the idea formed to produce a book about the breed from the past. This book with the help of Laurence and Miss Iris Fairs was published in 1988 and titled ‘Digging Up The Past’ which proved to be so informative to the dedicated breeders. It really did go back to the very roots of the club, with extracts from the first ever BCC 15 class Open show that was held at The Astoria Ballroom, Plymouth Grove, Manchester on 19th April 1958 and judged by Mrs.Thelma Gray. Then, of course, Diana and Laurence decided in 1990 to annually produce The Chihuahua Chronicle, which I can vouch for is very hard work and all credit to her that the Chroncle is still going as strong as ever to this day. Would you believe it, with all this on her plate, and the first signs of illness beginning to be felt, whenever there was a ‘Special Occasion’ or ‘Anniversary Show’ Diana would produce one of her ever famous cakes. The iced decorations so exquisite it was almost a shame to cut the cake, that was until you tasted just how truly delicious it was.

Diligent, hard working and fiercely protective of the club, Diana, Tony and Laurence worked tirelessly to keep everything smooth running and on an even keel. The illness that Diana was fighting so hard was beginning to take its toll, and in 2004 she reluctantly hung up her boots and handed over the reins to fresh blood. Diana still maintained contact with friends to keep her informed of events, but sadly on 4th September she lost her fight for life.

The funeral which took place on 14th September was a very private affair as it was Diana’s express wish that the funeral remain such. The world of chihuahuas is now a poorer place and I am sure everyone sends their heartfelt sympathies to Tony, Laurence, Donna, and family.
Donations, if so wished, should be sent to: Thornalley Funeral Services, 51 – 55 St James Street, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 5BZ and payable to Holbeach Hospital.

Beverley Sutton