It is with great sadness that I have to announce that Betty Strawson passed away on the 16th February at the age of 91.
Betty will be remembered especially by the older generation and people closely involved with Poodles.
Betty and husband Ivan were the World famous Tophill Poodles. Before their interest in Poodles, Betty also bred quality Cocker Spaniels and Wire Fox Terriers. However, Poodles, mostly Miniatures and Toys, were their passion and for which they will be best known.
When I first met Betty I was a very young Poodle enthusiast just starting to go to dog shows. Back in those days, people like Betty were treated with a great deal of respect by newcomers like me, and we had to earn our place to get noticed! I remember being in awe of her with her wonderful top winning dogs. I was fortunate to have a Champion of my own fairly quickly, in 1963.
I so remember how supportive both Ivan and Betty were to me, very helpfully introducing me to many influential people and helping to promote my dogs. It was not long before we became firm friends.
There will be others still around who, like me, enjoyed the wonderful parties at Tophill. If you were really lucky, maybe you were part of the set. Lunches in the Strawsons’ caravan at dog shows were a real treat. We had such good times and the caravan would rock with laughter. We left the show happy win or lose. They were such great days.
Betty and Ivan were such fun people, they worked very hard in their highly successful kennel and they played hard too. Really living life to the full, they were an immensely popular couple. They were also involved with the Kennel Club and many other aspects of the world of dogs where they put so much of themselves into everything.
It was a very sad day when Ivan passed away in the early 1970s and, of course, devastating for Betty. Finding it difficult to be alone, Betty married again to a kind and caring man Geoffrey, who was not involved in the dog scene. Betty happily accepted the change and for many years enjoyed a happy life in Spain with her second husband. She still loved to attend the shows when they came home to England during the summer months.
We always always kept in touch, even during the time when we lived in South Africa. I will never forget Betty's generosity in allowing my husband John and me to stay in her apartment in Worthing when we were home visiting family and friends
I am so pleased that I visited Betty just before Christmas. She was not well, but so happy to see me and spent most of the time pointing out photos of her famous dogs. I shall remember Betty with great fondness and many happy memories from some of the best years of my life.
My sincere condolences go to her children Peter and Penny, her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her two sisters. Also to Judith Robin Smith, Betty's niece, who has always said what a special role her Auntie Betty played in her life, especially with her involvement in dogs.
Betty was her mentor and will be very sadly missed.
With sadness I have to report the death, aged 91, of Mrs Betty Strawson of the Tophill Kennel of Wire Fox Terrier, Cocker Spaniels, Miniature and Toy Poodles. Her increasing disability caused her much suffering over the last few years but she always recognised the ‘doggy’ faces who visited her. All friends, acquaintances and those who would like to honour the memory of Betty, and the late Ivan, are welcome to attend at Tunbridge Wells Crematorium on Tuesday 27 February at 11.30 and afterwards at the Spa Hotel, Tunbridge Wells. It would be helpful for numbers if you phone Judith Robin-Smith on 01749 673976, also if you need transport.