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Obituary - Mervyn Grassby


On March 31st Mervyn Grassby lost his battle against cancer. The funeral took place at Truro School Chapel on Monday 7th April and was attended by over 120 people including representatives from the dog societies.

He will be greatly missed by everyone but especially by his wife Jane and his son Joe, daughter Lisa and grandchildren. We will all remember him as a real gentleman with a tremendous sense of humour. Mervyn’s career began in the Merchant Navy and then he became an engineer with the Electricity Generating Board before he retired to Cornwall.

I first met Mervyn in the early 70s through our mutual love of dogs. He remembered our first meeting when we arrived at his house with a car full of English Setters. Mervyn then used to recount that I got out of the car, opened the car boot and took out a dog, then proceeded to set this dog up in a show pose - he found this very strange and could not make out who looked most foolish: me or the dog. However, he must have been somewhat impressed as the visit resulted in the purchase of an English Setter who had great success in the show ring: he became Show Champion Mr. Micawber of Fosscott and together with his first wife Maureen, under the affix Scratchwood, there followed a lot of success with English Setters. Mervyn also became a well respected judge awarding Challenge Certificates in the breed.

From this time on we became firm friends and Mervyn became involved in the dog show scene in the Midlands area, serving on Coventry & District Gundog Society Committee. Then in the late 70s was a great influence in starting a new breed Club, the Midland English Setter Society, becoming a founder Member and serving as Treasurer for many years and then as Chairman. He still remained as Chairman of this Society when he moved to Cornwall to live. He used to make the long journey to the Midlands for their events but when Mervyn resigned he still maintained his avid interest in the Society and breed, keeping in contact with the Officers and members.

It was his love of the English Setters that first brought him into contact with his second wife, Jane, who was at that time showing English Setters and Red & White Setters. Mervyn drove me to a seminar in Wiltshire where I was involved in talking about the Setters and Jane was one of the candidates. From this point on I kept hearing about this wonderful Cornish lady and eventually Jane and he were married and Joe, their son, was born.

Over the years as we became interested in Brittanys, Mervyn and Jane also came to love them - probably from my continual chatter about the breed - and when we had a litter born in 1998 they obtained Meg from us. Mervyn attended many activities of the Brittany Club and was an up-and-coming Juge in the breed, using the affix Poppyfields.

Margaret Green