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Mrs betty Nicholls

Mrs Betty Nicholls (Nixtrix) died in hospital from pneumonia on 8th February.

Her kennel was well known in the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s and she made up a number of Champions in both coats in Chihuahuas. Our condolences go to her husband Edward and two sons.

Mrs Dorothy beach (stranmillis)

''Oh Happy Days” abridged from an article by Dorothy Beach taken from the GSD (Alsatian) Club of the UK 1995 Volume IX.

Dorothy Beach’s views on Judging – ‘Those with a genuine interest in learning their craft are not anxious to pontificate too soon and should never solicit appointments to judge. Remember you are being watched by fellow exhibitors and your manner of conducting yourself toward exhibitors – is important. How you dress is important, as an exhibitor or judge never look as if you have come out of a sty. Present yourself and your dog in a well-groomed condition. Dogs have been good to me. I have been fortunate to judge all over the world. I am so grateful to that little bundle of fluff given to me by my husband as a birthday present.’

As a youngster Dorothy helped in a Bulldog kennel. Her first German Shepherd came from Ireland – Stranmillis, and that became her affix. Successful breeder, exhibitor, judge, not only all over the world but twice judged GSDs at Crufts. She was well loved, respected and will be greatly missed. It has been said of her that she was down to earth, had a wicked sense of humour, called a spade a spade, knowledgeable and will be a great loss to the GSD world.

Breeding and showing was her life. May her name live on through the Stranmillis breeding. Her funeral will be on 5th March at 2.20pm at West Herts Crematorium. For more details phone Maureen Beach on 01923-263536 . No flowers please.
Christine Owen


Mr Douglas B Oliff

1927 – 2008

Douglas Oliff, who died on the 15th February aged 80 years, was a popular figure in dogs and indeed in many other circles.

Douglas started his education being tutored at home, he then progressed to Woolaston Primary School and then completed his education at Lydney Grammar School. He served for a period in the Royal Navy and on completion of his service worked for the then Gloucester Co-operative Creamery as an analyst in the laboratory testing the milk. He continued his employment as an Environmental Health Officer for the Forest of Dean District Council until he retired.

Douglas’s interests were wide and varied. He was a real traditionalist and his interests included caring for his orchard which contained some very rare English Apple and Pear trees; he was an authority on bee-keeping and kept many hives of bees, regularly selling pots of honey on a stall at the Welsh & West of England Bullmastiff Show together with the jam he made during the summer. He judged and bred Old English Game and they could often be found wandering around his orchard.

He was a very keen and accomplished photographer, and had a great love of classical music, he himself playing the cello but only for pleasure. He was an avid collector of first edition books on a wide variety of subjects. In his younger days he was often seen round the country lanes driving his Vintage Rolls Royce, which gave him much joy.

Douglas was a kind and generous man, always willing to listen and give advice if required, and for some time was a prison visitor, a job that he found fulfilling, and he made some lifelong friends during this time. Dr Jean Clarke was once overheard talking with a friend about Douglas, and she said: “One thing about Douglas, he never judges anyone, and when he introduces you to someone you never know whether it’s going to be a burglar or a bishop”. This I think epitomised Douglas; he had friends all over the world from all walks of life and considered it was the person that counted not their upbringing or class.

Of course Douglas’s great passion was his dogs, and he was a great authority on the Molosser Breeds having produced two superb books on the subject and he was a much sought after speaker. He bred and showed both Mastiffs and Bullmastiffs and his dog Wyaston Captain Cuttle was quite an influential sire of the time. Latterly he also kept a Neapolitan Mastiff as a companion. He judged all over the world, judging Crufts in 1977, the American Bullmastiff Association Golden Jubilee Show in 1983 with what at that time was a world record entry. He judged the World Show in Dortmund, and major events in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and group specialist shows in Germany. He judged Neapolitan Mastiffs and was approved to award CCs in Bullmastiffs, Mastiffs and Great Danes.

Douglas was instrumental in founding The Mastiff Association, and was President of The Neapolitan Mastiff Club and The Welsh & West of England Bullmastiff Society of which, for over 40 years on and off, he was also Secretary.

He was well known for the legendary shows he ran for the society at Clearwell Castle which also held a separate Mastiff show on the same day. Douglas so enjoyed his time as secretary for the Welsh & West of England Bullmastiff Society and was always there for anyone to ring and get advice. At the shows he would spot a new face in the crowd and go and introduce himself explaining to the newcomer how the show worked and introducing them to committee members and generally making them welcome.

Douglas was a gentleman and always had a good word to say, and the one thing I will remember him by was his saying “If you can’t think of something pleasant to say, better to say nothing at all”.


Peter Watkins (Bembridge)

Peter Watkins, well known and respected Cavalier and Griffon breeder, died on 23rd February of heart failure.

Brian and I first met Peter in 1981, when he judged Cavaliers at Darlington Championship Show, and since that day, we became firm friends, and Peter enjoyed many happy holidays at Ricksbury. He loved the dinner parties we held, and we gleaned lots of information on the great breeders of yesteryear from his after-dinner stories.

He was a very good friend of the late Lady Forwood, and loved the times he spent at her London apartment, and the London night life must have been a great attraction for Peter.

A past Committee Member of the Cavalier Club, and he also served on the Griffon Club. Indeed his last Griffon judging engagement was the Centenary Championship Show in 2006. This was a very proud moment for Peter.

Peter’s judging first started in the early ’60s. He judged Cavaliers on 17 occasions with Challenge Certificates. His last appointment for Cavaliers was Southern Counties in 2005.

He was greatly honoured to have Judged Cavaliers at Crufts, and at the Cavalier Club, as Peter liked it to be called, not the Parent Club. He was a lovely man, and we will miss him terribly.

To Pearl, his devoted wife, and to Robert and Sarah, and to his grandchildren, our thoughts are with you at this sad time.
Kevan Berry