Miss Diana Abbott
Past President Jersey KC
and President Jersey Junior Handlers Association
We were very sorry to hear of the death of Miss Diana Abbott in Jersey. With her passing go many years of happy memories of child/dog handling training sessions, fancy dress dog Christmas Parties, overseas and U.K. Show Handling Tours, PAT dog visits to hospitals and homes, dog handling competitions and demonstrations. She has touched the lives of many families both in Jersey and the in U.K. It is her early work with her colleague, Brian Cummins, that was translated in to the 'Show Handling Skills Bible' that most young Show Handlers adhere to today.
She was the inspiration for many young families with dogs in Jersey and urged them to train well in their sport, to compete fairly both at home and later in the U.K. & Europe, but always to enjoy their dogs. She was admired as a trainer but also as a breeder of some of the best Standard Wire Haired Dachshunds and more recently the Cesky Terriers winning CCs at Crufts. On tour she was the 'lady with the handbag' containing everything and anything anyone might need from sewing kit to ring clips. She was so proud of the first Jersey Junior Handlers Teams to hit the English coast and avidly followed their progress and successes with their dogs. She never lost touch with those youngsters, some of whom are now in their 30s. Their feelings for her are probably best summed up in a letter she received shortly before her death from the other side of the world from her first young student who began dog training with her at the age of 3 years...
‘ Mum has just phoned me and told me things aren't looking so good for you, so I thought I'd drop you a quick line.
‘It's Friday night here, school is over and I'm settled at home with Marvin (the st. poodle ) listening to Thai pop. I think they are having some kind of party over in the offices behind me. Needless to say it's not really helping me get to sleep, I just hope it finishes soon as I'm up early tomorrow for a swimming competition at school !
‘I'm really enjoying Thailand, still not sure I want to come back to rainy England just yet. In a couple of weeks it will be half term here and I hope to go and do some scuba diving again.
It's really peaceful down under the sea and there are so many fantastically coloured fish and corals to look at. Last time I went we saw three leopard sharks and a turtle and I was within a metre of them. It all seems really slow motion and lazy down there, really relaxing. I think you would love it. Having said that I'm not sure if you swim or not, which could be a bit of a problem !
‘I was thinking about you tonight and remembering how in awe I used to be of you as a child (and to be honest sometimes slightly terrified!). We always did what we were told at Friday night dog club with Miss Abbott! One of my favourite memories of Jersey was the training club Christmas party every year. I seem to remember making reindeer antlers for the dogs one year, very entertaining for us but I think they spent most of the night trying to tear them off. I seem to remember the mince pies were pretty good too and I think I probably helped myself to more than my fair share. Not sure if anyone else got to try them actually.
‘Throughout the years I have stopped fearing you might tell me off but the respect for you and your successes in the dog world still remain. Your strong personality and independence is still an inspiration to me now and it is as a result of being lucky enough to have grown up with people in my life like you that I am brave enough to do the exploring I do now.
‘I really just wanted to take this opportunity to say a big thank-you Di for all you have done for me knowingly or unknowingly throughout the years. You have been a part of my life ever since I can remember and I even have a picture of you in my dog grooming box out here in Thailand so every time Marvin gets groomed I remember happy times dog showing in Jersey.
‘Take care, I will be thinking about you.
‘Love Frances Hurley’
Adrian, Christine and Russell Marett write:
With the death of Di Abbott, we have lost a close friend and a great mentor. A generous lady, firm and fair who did not suffer fools gladly, and with a sometimes wicked sense of humour, she introduced us to the Cesky Terrier and allowed us to handle some wonderful show dogs.
As young junior handlers, we were often threatened with ‘Miss Abbott’ if we were giving a trainer a hard time, however once you got to know her, Di was generous and always willing to give advice. Di would always refer to how ‘our’ dogs had done, Gayteckels was very much a team result.
Her role within dogdom in the Channel Islands was immense. As well as running her own grooming parlour since she arrived in Jersey, she was heavily involved with the Jersey Kennel Club and of course, laid the foundations for the famous Jersey Junior Handlers Association, for it was Di’s training class that Jacqui Hurley attended and then in time founded the J.J.H.A. Up until her death she remained President of the J.J.H.A., a post she had held for the last ten years.
Over forty years of breeding the Gayteckels Wire-Haired Dachshunds has proven successful, as seen in her latest breeding. During the last months, amongst other wins, she won two Best in Show awards with a Dachshund and Cesky, the points trophy for top dog 2003, reached the last five in the PRO Dogs grand final, in addition to receiving her sixth Guernsey Prix D’Honneur, and was able to know that her Cesky was awarded Best Bitch at Crufts.
Thank you Di for all you have done for us.
Mrs Louie Arnold
LOUIE ARNOLD at 88 years ‘young’ sadly passed away on Sunday 14th March 2004 after a long illness.
Louie was from showman’s stock, hence the prefix, and her family are still members of the showmans’ guild.
Louie acquired her first Yorkshire Terrier in 1957, which she bought for her daughter Sandra who was then just a schoolgirl. Sandra, while out with her Yorkie, met a gentleman who was in terriers and suggested that she should show her Yorkie.
To hear the tale from Louie of her introduction to the show ring was hilarious in itself. She said ‘All these persons prancing about with dogs on boxes with red covers and bows in their hair, and the older ones with ‘curlers’, Sandra, what have you got me into?!’
Sandra however pestered Louie to return and they started winning and that was the start of the Showbiz kennel.
If you bought a dog from Louie, they were all characters just like their breeder. We had two, one of which ended up working for BBC tv.
Louie acquired a Maltese bitch puppy in the late 80s which was awarded a CC and several RCCs; it was Louie who introduced us to Maltese. After going to buy a Yorkie bitch, my wife and I ended up with a Maltese puppy bitch. She could be very persuasive.
Louie was very forthright and did not suffer fools gladly, but she had a heart of gold and would help anyone, in both breeds, who asked for advice.
I can picture her last year driving her large Volvo, done up like Lady Docker. Louie, a character who will be remembered and sadly missed. We send our condolences to Sandra and all the family.
MAURICE CHIVERS, who died on 17th March, put more into dogs than most ever will. He was showing Cockers in the 60s, a notable winner being the lovely black dog Loma King Cole. But it is for his administrative skills that we will be remembered by a wider circle.
He was Secretary of Alton and DCS for many years, later becoming Chairman. He was also Secretary of the Black Cocker Spaniel Society and was to oversee the amalgamation of the Society with the Red & Gold Cocker Spaniel Club, becoming Chairman of the newly-formed Solid Colours Cocker Spaniel Association in 2000. Still holding these offices he was also currently a much valued committee member of the London Cocker Spaniel Society. He had been involved with the Cocker Spaniel Breed Council and at one time had served on the committee of the Cocker Spaniel Club. He also judged Cockers at championship show level.
Maurice was a very efficient steward, and over a great many years was a familiar figure at many of the general championship shows. Up until the last few months he would resolutely steward on all the days of major shows. He was always kind and helpful and his good sense, knowledge and experience were much valued by committees. He was always supported in the background by Lola, his wife of 60 years, to whom we send condolences. He will be greatly missed by her and by many friends.
The funeral is to be on Friday 26th March at 12 noon at Aldershot Crematorium. No flowers, but donations to Cancer Research UK in his memory would be appreciated.
Jennifer Lloyd Carey