Western Great Dane Club
League Finals, Dinner Dance and Open Show
Saturday & Sunday 9th & 10th November
staging of this years SWGDC's Top Twelve League Finals
followed the same format as in 2001, the Club's 25th. Anniversary
year. It incorporated the long established event of judging
the Premier and SuperLeague Finals with a Dinner Dance on the
Saturday evening followed on this occasion by the clubs
Annual Open Show on the Sunday.
Participation in the League Finals is always by invitation and
is based upon points earned at shows over the preceding twelve
months. The invitations are extended to the top twelve dogs
and twelve bitches from the two leagues, each of which has differing
criteria. Over the previous 21 years the cream of the breed
have graced this event and this year was no exception. The high
standard of the exhibits coupled with the glittering array of
Silverware and Specials that are always on offer from this club
has made this event equally compelling for both exhibitors and
Brean Leisure Park, the venue for the event, was also the same
as used last year. It is in essence a self contained holiday
camp, however the management set very high standards for both
the accommodation and catering and was much appreciated by all
in attendance both this year and last.
The evening commenced with complimentary drinks for competitors
and guests. To set the right atmosphere the Committee were all
dressed in formal evening wear and many of the large gathering
had followed suit.
At about 6pm the business of the evening got under way with
the traditional parade of the Veterans and the Colour League
winners. Sheila Nicholson delivered a slick commentary on the
individuals and they were followed firstly by the SuperLeague
Qualifiers and lastly by the Premier League contestants.
Following the Parade the judges were introduced and judging
This year's judges were Mrs Meg PurnellCarpenter doing
dogs. Meg started in dogs as a teenager with German Shepherds
and following great success with that breed, more than twenty
years ago she imported and started breeding Akitas. She has
bred Champions in eight Countries and has also written two books
on the breed. Also at her Overhill kennels she has the French
Beauceron. Meg is only the second person to be invited to judge
the Leagues a second time, having judged bitches in 1992. Prior
to the event the Committee took the decision to mark last years
25th. Anniversary with a one off invitation to two previous
judges and she was in fact invited to judge last year along
with John Steel. John is the only other person to be so honoured.
She was very obviously disappointed at having to withdraw and
it was decided to invite her this year.
The bitches were judged by the equally well known Isobell Dyke.
Isobell started with Afghans Hounds in 1968 and amongst her
successes she has made up many Champions in that breed. As well
as Afghan, she has also handled whippets and Shiba Inu, all
of which she is approved to award CCs to. In addition
this year she has been approved to award CCs in Dachshunds
for the first time. In Ireland she is approved to award Green
Stars to numerous breeds and has judged in many different countries
around the world. She is of course the Secretary of SWKA and
has been a KC Member since 1987.
The Referee was Judith Gregory of the Tonkory Border Collies.
Judith has owned the breed for 40 years and has awarded CCs
to them since 1990. She bred the Top B. Collie of 2000 and is
currently the Top Breeder. She has owned three Champions, one
of which was BOB at Crufts 2002. She has also judged in Denmark,
Belgium and Holland
As can be seen from the profiles above, this year's judges were
of the same high calibre as those chosen over the preceding
21 years in adherence to the decision made many years ago to
appoint only judges that have no direct link with the breed
to officiate at this event.
The Committee has stuck to that principle throughout, as they
feel that it is the level of impartiality that these people
bring to the event, that has ensured its continuing success
over the years. It is also interesting to note that they have
continually managed to select the top winners.
It was a delight to watch two very competent judges go about
their business. Having made their decisions they completed each
League by presenting the individual winners with their trophies
The results of the Leagues are detailed below but to confirm
the previous comment about outsiders picking winners. The overall
winner of the Premier League Hallams Ch. Dainwood Fantastic
Light at Fassano who recently gained her title, was in fact
the highest placed D or B in that League table at the end of
the qualifying period and the dog placed second on the night
in Premier League dog judging, was the highest point scoring
male in that league table. Also the overall winner of the SuperLeague,
Townends Ch. Danepoint Dreamseller of Eastlight was the
highest point scoring Champion in the SuperLeague table.
Once the serious part of the evening was over it was time for
the fun to start, but not before the judges and Referee were
presented with commemorative gifts by the SWGDC Chair, Gwynneth
The event was once again very well supported by the breed, so
after a short break for some to change or see to dogs the festivities
could start. Brean Leisure Park is well known for its fine food
and the three-course meal that included a lavish carvery was
of the finest standard. During coffee the draw was made for
the winner of the number of the "lucky League Finals Programme".
This years prize was a large Danes head model. Shortly
after that with Sheila again doing the introductions, we had
the presentations of the silverware by Sally Lewis to the winners
of the Annual Trophies. The presentations were completed in
good time and after an enthusiastically supported wine raffle
the music began.
The in house DJ who was such a hit with last years revellers
was once again in fine form and managed to set the right tone
from the start. As last year, the dance floor was packed from
the first record to the last. Many of those who created such
a lasting impression on the dance floor last year were once
again very much to the fore and the evidence can be viewed on
the clubs web site www.southwesterngdc.supanet.com.
For most the last dance came far too soon and brought to an
end another fabulous night. It is fair to say that a number
of the participants carried on partying until the early hours.
Some obviously later than others, as there were a number of
faces missing at the Open Show the following day!
All the results and reports for the Open Show are contained
elsewhere within this feature, therefore I will comment only
on the events that surrounded the day.
Despite the absentees the judges had plenty to go over. Judging
started at 10.30 with bitches and Marie Day, who needs no introduction,
was soon into her stride. The dog judge was Paul Lawless (Revloch)
from Ireland, who had flown in from Dublin that morning. Whilst
he is best known for his involvement with Belgian Shepherds
he has had lots of experience judging our breed and awards Green
Stars to them in Ireland. He started at 11am and was soon putting
his knowledge to good use. Both judged with only a very short
break and finished in good time and both came up with Champions
for their individual Best of Sex and were unanimous in the choice
of the bitch for BOB. Unfortunately they could not agree on
the Reserve Best in Show and it was left to the Referee David
Lockett, who gave the nod to the dog. The convivial atmosphere
of the previous evening lingered throughout the day with an
excellent raffle being very well supported. Dane Rescue had
a stand at the show that was manned by Geoff Haines who I was
informed, has recently got married. Our congratulations go to
him and wife Joy.
And so the event drew to a close without any major problems
and ended with the same good humour and bonhomie that it had
started with the previous evening.
As it was last year, our major worry about the venue was that
someone might not take the appropriate care of the accommodation
that might lead to the possible loss of the venue for any future
project. I'm delighted to say that on that count everyone was
on their best behaviour.
UNFORTUNATELY, UNLIKE LAST YEAR, THERE WAS A LARGE AMOUNT OF
DOG FECES LEFT UNREMOVED FROM AROUND THE ACCOMMODATION. THAT
IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE ANYWHERE, BUT PARTICULLY AT THIS VENUE
AND IS IN DIRECT CONTRAVENTION OF KENNEL CLUB RULES. It was
fortunate that the show finished in daylight that enabled us
to go round and clear up the mess left behind by the mindless
To the majority of those who stayed over, the Committee says
a great THANK YOU for your efforts in difficult conditions.
To the guilty ones I would like to ask WHY DO YOU DO IT?
A last thank you from the Committee, to all whom supported us
here and in the past. I hope to see you all next year. I close
with a special mention for Susan Cottrell. She has collected
the points and collated the Leagues for as long as I can remember,
and then some. Susan has decided to relinquish this very demanding
role and henceforth it will be in the hands of Sally Lewis (Future
participants please note).
To Susan, the Committee sends a very large and extra special
Hon. Secretary SWGDC