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Obituary - Peter Maurice Rance (Olbero)

MANY OF you can remember Peter Rance for his fantastic sense of humour and his ability to turn a situation into a joke and make you laugh. Peter always had a twinkle in his eye, even when he was laid low by motor neurone disease and nursed at home by his wife Brenda for the last few months.

Peter cared about his family, especially his son Paul, daughter-in-law Mandy and grandchildren, Harry and Katy, and even though they live in New Zealand he kept in contact, telephoning them every week. Peter visited them in 2003 in their lovely home in Cambridge. His son Paul brought Harry home a couple of months ago and spent a quality week with his dad enjoying talking of old times and their new life in New Zealand.

Peter and his first wife, Jean, lived in the Old Bedford Road in Luton from where the name Olbero originated. Amazingly this was their third choice with the Kennel Club, and so began the partnership of showing and breeding Dalmatians. Since Tessa of the Chaise came into their home 49 years ago there have been 36 Olbero Champions - just to name a few Ch Olbero Over the Rainbow, top winning liver bitch to date with 18 certificates. Ch Olbero O’Keefe, Ch Olbero Organised Confusion, Int & Nordic Ch Olbero Onsdag Poijke (sired 26 champions), Ch Olbero Osario (sire of 7 champions).

Olberos have been used to start up some hugely successful kennels. Peter had a wide and extensive knowledge of the breed and gained vast experience because of his lifelong interest in dogs, especially Dalmatians. He was proud to be asked to judge the breed and his first Championship show appointment was in Leicester in 1975; since then he has judged more than 50 Championship shows all over the world including 30 Dalmatian Club Shows in 20 countries. The pinnacle was Crufts. This journey brought him into contact with many Dalmatian owners who have become lifelong friends who held him in very high regard for his knowledge and all that he has achieved.

Peter served as Show Manager for the British Dalmatian Club, he also contributed to the typing, printing and distribution of Spots of News in the early years. Furthermore he was Secretary of Hertfordshire County Show. His contribution to the breed was recognised by the Danish Dalmatian Club who made him an honorary member in 2000.

Peter was a Hertfordshire man, born in Tring in 1933 and the youngest of three children. Peter won a scholarship to Dunstable Grammar School and was proud of the school. He played for the Rugby XV and Hockey X1 teams in 1949 and 1950 being, by all accounts, quite an accomplished player and in recent years attended its Old Boys Association.

He did his National Service joining at Aldershot in October 1951 where his description was noted as 5’6”, 137lbs, 38” chest with light brown hair, blue eyes and a ‘fresh complexion’. Peter had only been in the army for two days when he was granted special leave to attend his brother Roy’s wedding as best man. Subsequently he completed his ABTU TRG training for the Far East in October 1952 and duly inoculated set sail for Singapore on the ‘Lancaster’. He also served in Hong Kong in 1952 as a Sergeant and whilst there he visited his brother on his tea plantation in Malaya, but was only given permission by his superiors if he travelled as guard on the train. It was here he attended a dinner only to be informed halfway through that it was curried monkey! He had never eaten curry since.

He returned to the UK in 1954. Whilst aboard the ‘Empire Windrush’ the ship caught fire in the Mediterranean and sank on Monday 29th March. Peter was one of the last to leave the ship, with the exception of the crew, having first made sure all other passengers including many women and children were safe. Peter lost all his belongings in this fire and was subsequently awarded an ex gratia payment of £107 from the war office.

Peter made a success of his career as a Car Body Designer both here in the UK and overseas. He led a very busy life and worked long hours. When you met him he had the ability to make you feel that, of all the people in the world, you were the one that he wanted to be with at that moment. He never forgot the small things which taken together made him the exceptional Englishman that he was. Since his retirement Peter enjoyed life at Rookery Oak and spent many hours breaking, riding and caring for his Arab horses, walking his dogs which became an everyday pleasure as he was so keen to keep them in tip top show condition.

The Rance family

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