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Obituary - Helen Rawson-Mackenzie
1936 - 2009 (Coulree German Shepherds)

It is with great regret that after battling with cancer for many years Heather died on Wednesday 11 March. She leaves two sons and three grandchildren of whom she was very fond and proud.

Heather spent her early years during the war near Usk in Monmouthshire where her father - Captain Bailey ran the Home Defence Force (Home Guard) - later being sent to school at St Audreys on the West Somerset coast. After the war Heather’s parents relocated to Co. Wexford in Ireland where her father became MFH of the Island pack and Heather grew up surrounded by ponies and a motley collection of dogs belonging to her mother.

After leaving her boarding school near Dublin Heather spent a while in the United States before returning to take an Instructors Course at the famous Porlock Riding Centre under Captain Tony Collings, Olympic rider.

Upon returning to Ireland Heather was granted her wish to purchase a German Shepherd and a bitch puppy was acquired from Mrs Barrington of the famous Brittas Kennels. Heather’s father decided that if she wished to breed GSDs she should learn to do the job properly. Heather became a pupil at the Eveley Kennels and under the auspices of Mr Tidbold and her manager/handler Eric Gerard, Heather was given a good grounding in kennel management, showing and handling. Heather returned to Ireland and purchase 2 more bitches - Gitana Reina of C and Letten Otherwise of C (by Ch Danke v Menkenmoor), several litters being bred from each bitch.

In the late 50s and early 60s Heather met and married Frederick and moved to the Midlands. Dogs took a secondary position in her life when her two sons were born. Heather returned to the Show ring around 1966 with a nice young dog Vendawn Olympics of C and the two bitches Vendawn Partheros and Kesley Empress.

Within a couple of years Heather had established herself by winning consistently at Ch. Shows, handling to their titles C. Enchantment of Eveley and her own home breed Ch Khyberi of Codreee and the latter’s brother Kohinoor to his Junior Warrant. The German bred bitch (born in Inarantine) Shiraz of Charavigne was also purchased around this time. She later became the mainstay of the Coulree Kennel and the foundation of her working stock and is behind all the remaining Coulrees to this day.

Heather bred many other good winners including Ch Mandarin of Coulree and his sister Malindo who became a New Zealand Ch. She also sent dogs to East Africa where her mother and sister were living many of whom became big winners.

Not long after this Heather’s marriage broke down and she had to curtail her activities to some extent, although she still attended some Ch. Shows. It was round about this time that Heather’s interest in the working side of the breed came to the fore.

During the late 70s and 80s Heather qualified a number of dogs in Working Trials to CD ex & UD ex. She also took over the running of the North versus South Working Competition held each year at the GSD League Ch Show. She was elected a life Vice President.

Heather judged many Open Shows during the 1960s at Championship level during the 1970s and 80s.

After being diagnosed with cancer in 2000 Heather decided to sell the family home in Atherstone and moved near Tamworth taking only 4 dogs with her. In 2007 she moved agin to West Somerset where she quickly made friends in the locality. Her abiding interest was her garden in which she took great pleasure in making plan for the future and planting accordingly.
Heather will be greatly missed by her friends in the breed with whom she was always pleased and willing to share her knowledge of breeding and bloodlines.
Details of the funeral to be held in Somerset from Taunton Funeral Service 01954 624149 (approx 27 March).

P Wills

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