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Obituary - Sylvia Muggeridge

Sylvia MuggeridgeIT IS with great sadness that I have to report the passing of Sylvia Muggeridge (Sunstone) on Saturday 21st March 2009. She would have been 89-years-old in June this year. Sylvia was very well known for her Irish and Gordon Setters.

Sylvia grew up with a family Irish Setter from an early age, but the first dog she owned was a Fox Terrier by the name of Patch. It was not until February 8th 1933 that she visited Crufts Dog Show to look at the Irish Setters and saw the sire of the family`s next bitch and this was purchased when she left the army after the war. In 1970 Sylvia acquired her first show bitch and exhibited at Alexandra Palace with some success after being persuaded by her two younger boys to enter and she won!
Later on she was left a pair of pistols by an uncle and she decided that she would like to sell them. Upon entering the shop the gunsmith asked how much she wanted for them and her reply was: ‘Enough to buy a Gordon Setter Puppy.’ Sylvia was to learn later that the pistols were worth a lot more money.

She had her lifetime affix granted on 1st March 1974 by the Kennel Club. Tessa (Carorae Admiration of Sunstone) was the first Gordon Setter she had owned and, in Sylvia’s words, ‘had a beautiful head, very dark eyes and a shiny coat and a lashing tail.’

Sylvia started judging in the 1970s and when she moved from Hampstead Garden Suburb to the country in 1978 she was persuaded to be a founder life member of Mid Herts Gundog Club, and then Secretary, and later Hon. Vice President. In later years she also was a Kennel Club Member and a life member of Windsor, Richmond, WELKS, the Gordon Setter Association, the British Gordon Setter Club. She was also a member of the Ladies Kennel Club, the Irish Setter Association, Irish Setters Breeder Club and the English Setter Association.

When she moved to Great Brickhill she was often seen walking through the village with a mixture of seven Irish and Gordon Setters, and even at one stage an English Setter called Henry.

Sylvia had Irish setters for 70 years and Gordon setters for 30 years and had nine generations direct line in these two breeds and an occasional English Setter was also present in her home. She lost her last Gordon in 2006 and the Irish in 2008.

Sylvia was a very respected member of the canine world and was always there with a helping hand and time for old and young alike and in particular to novice owners and exhibitors. Her ‘after sales puppy service’ was exceptional over all the years and many puppy owners went on to become close family friends, even after an initial grilling about their personal circumstances when coming to view puppies.

She was a lady who had standards and I am sure all of us can recall her finishing touches that she gave to an event. One that springs to mind was when she was Secretary of Mid Herts Gundog Club. At their shows she would always ensure that fresh flowers were present on the judges’ tables and also on the lunch tables. The other occasion was that at every Gordon Setter Club show Sylvia would provide roses for the Rose Bowl Cup and ripe horse chestnuts for the Colour Cup (the colour of a Gordon Setter’s tan should be the colour of a ripe horse chestnut as taken from the shell).

A close friend and her Gordon Setter visited her as a Pets as Therapy dog while at home and latterly in the Pilgrims Hospice, Canterbury, and it made her face light up having licks and cuddles with a Setter.

Sylvia will be sorely missed by all her friends - human and animal - as she was a special lady from a special generation.

She leaves behind Robert, John, Sally, Richard and Terry, eleven grandchildren and two great grandchildren to whom I am sure we all send our condolences.

Sue Mitchell

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