Characters are few and far between these days, so it saddens me to report the death of my pal Gerry Fallas who died in Harrogate General Hospital last Friday.
Gerry, who was a real character in the world of dogs, had been sent into hospital for tests. I visited him on the Monday where he was in great form, and looked good, joking with the nurses and enquiring if he could go home, however cancer had a tight grip.
I have known Gerry for many years, it was the late Sid Meek who called to see us in Suffolk and who introduced the young Gerry to us. he had Rough Collies and Chihuahuas and was then interested in Shelties. Always able and willing to express his opinions with direct Yorkshire bluntness I found it very amusing to see the effects of his remarks on some of the elderly ladies of the breed.
It wasn’t long after this he met and married Mary and the Dalsetter kennel became very active. There have been quite a number of breeds shown and bred over the years with many champions being made up. Besides Rough Collies, Chihuahuas, Shelties and Japanese Spitz, Gerry was particularly interested in Bernese Mountain Dogs and was recently telling me of a young dog he would like to get. In recent years Lowchens have been added to the kennel with great success.
During this period of breeding and showing the Dalsetter Trade Stand became more and more prominent, not so many people will know that many schedules and catalogues were printed for the shows by Dalsetter with delivery being done by Gerry just before the show. Their lovely Farmhouse built of substantial stone and flag floors was full of books, paper and printing machinery plus hordes of helpers coming and going plus a barn full of pigs and chickens, plus a kennel of show dogs kept everyone very busy with Gerry and Mary working around the clock.
Around this time, they decided to print a hard back book on Shetland Sheepdog Show Champions from 1915 –1980, this presented an enormous amount of research and work to collate accurate data and in the middle of this they moved from Thorpe to Harewood. The book received nothing but praise from the breed people, and another Champions’ Book was printed from 1981 – 1990.
I remember the day Mary rang to say Gerry had been involved in a car accident, when we got to the hospital we were told there was little hope, he had a broken neck, broken pelvis and most of one heel had been taken off plus various cuts etc. but being a tough Yorkshireman Gerry was back at a dog show within the year – in a wheelchair but telling everyone he would be back showing soon - which he did of course!
Thus the curtain falls on a chapter that I feel will never be repeated, I will not forget you Gerry, and my love goes out to Mary and his children
Funeral arrangements to be found on www.northernbernese.co.uk notice board