Been a busy start to March, which has been dominated by two things – Crufts and some challenging weather for exhibitors.
On Saturday 3rd March it was Ashton-in-Makerfield Open Show in St Helens. I have been on the committee for more years than I care to remember and usually steward the Gundog Breeds and Gundog group. We are fortunate to be the weekend before Crufts so are often a last chance for exhibitors to practice before the big event. Due to the commitment of the small Committee and embracing the internet and on-line entries, our little show has grown over the last few years and hit a new record of almost 600 dogs entered, up from 512 the previous year.
The weather locally was cold but avoided the snow that had hit many parts of the country. A couple of our judges were snowed in, so last minute substitutions were made, but everyone pulled together keeping exhibitors informed through social media the evening before the show. On the day we had a great show. As they say, the show must go on …
In GWP’s we had 8 entries under our judge, Emma Towns. Best of Breed went to Malin and Dominic Hewins bitch, Kimmax Katch Up and Best Puppy went to Kim and Dave Donnelly’s young lad, Kimmax Knock Yourself Out.
Gundog day at Crufts this year fell on the final day, Sunday 11th March. This year our judge was Mr Chris Atkinson and his entry was 5 dogs and 12 bitches.
Despite the lack of numbers (due to the docking legislation, as most overseas and UK GWP breeders continue to dock) Chris has some good quality exhibits to sort through. Chris chose Sharon Pinkerton’s import, Sh Ch Esmee Dragon from Rhona’s Home at Bareve (imp Nld), her 8th CC having won BoB at Crufts for the last 3 years.
Another import, this time from Ireland, won the Dog CC – Beechillawn Wirey Calling Kimmax (IKC) – owned by Peter & Maxine McCullough. Murphy is only lightly shown by Maxine and has 2 CC’s to date (the other won at the GWPC Championship Show in 2016).
The Beechillawn kennels is starting to gain quite a reputation now in the UK, having been top breeder of GWP’s in Ireland for many years, so it was no surprise when the kennels collected the remaining awards. Reserve Dog CC went to Ir Sh Ch/Int Sh Ch Beechillawn Sound of the Underground An Ch15,’16, CW’17 Jnr CH JD owned by his breeder, Maura & Seamus Gettings and the Reserve Bitch CC went to Kim and Dave Donnelly’s, Hana, Beechillawn Oooh Betty.
Unfortunately, no placing for the breed in the Group this year, which was won by a Veteran Pointer, Sh Ch Kanix Chilli owned by Miss H Blackburn-Bennett.
As usual, members of the GWP Club manned the GWP Discover Dogs stand throughout the 4 days of Crufts and were kept very busy throughout.
This weekend, the snow hit again and disrupted some canine activities. Fortunately, the North West and North Midlands avoided any major issues.
On Saturday 17th Match over in Ireland, Maura Gettings was delighted to report that, subject to IKC confirmation, Prudence is now an Irish Show Champion.
At the St Patricks Day International Championship Show under judge, Mr. A. Szutkiewicz, Best of Breed, CACIB Dog and Green Star Dog went to Ben, Sh Ch/CIW Beechillawn Sound of the Underground An Ch ’15 ’16 Jun Ch JD with Reserve BOB, CACIB Bitch and Green Star Bitch going to their youngster, Prudence, Beechillawn Super Smashing Great Jnr Ch JD giving her the 7th Green Star and her title. Opal, Beechillawn Fire Queen Opal, was Best Baby Puppy in Breed and went on to be shortlisted in the final 8 in the Best Baby Puppy in Show.
The next day, at the Celtic Winners International Championship Show, under judge Mrs Laura Cox, it was a repeat of the previous day’s results for Ben and Prudence, with Mia, Beechillawn Argyle Pink Jubilee taking Best Baby Puppy.
Other hardy souls braving the weather to show their dogs at local Open Shows included newcomer, Libbi Ramsden and her puppy, Barbara (Kimmax Kute as a Button). Sadly no breed classes in their area but at their first ever show at Maidstone Open Show, Barbara won Best AVNSC Gundog Puppy and went on to take Group 3 in the Puppy Group.
At Woolwich & Bexley Open, Barbara was 3rd in AVNSC Gundog Puppy, then 2nd in AV Gundog Puppy and then finally took 1st in AV Puppy – and £6 prize money. Libbi needs to be careful or she may get turned into one of those crazy ‘show people’.
Finally, on Sunday 18th March the GWP Club held its Annual AGM. Fortunately, despite the weather, members and most of the committee made it to the AGM and the hall was nicely heated for us. As our President was snowed in, I was elected by the floor to chair the meeting.
Barbara Rigby was re-elected for another 3 year term as President, with Robert Geary continuing as Secretary and Christine Evans as Treasurer. Trevor Rigby, who stood in last year as Acting Field Trial Secretary was formally elected as Field Trial Secretary.
The remaining committee elected were Peter and Maxine McCullough, Barbara Stamp, Mandy Geary, Kimberley O’Connor and Wendy Oxman all continuing on for another term, with Paul and Debbie Lovatt and Andrew Fleming joining the committee for the first time. This leaves one available place on committee, which is in the process of being co-opted as we have a busy year ahead.
Peter McCullough was elected by the new committee to continue as Chairman, with Barbara Stamp as Vice Chair.
As always, the GWP Club would also like to pass on their grateful thanks to our non-Committee member, Jay Boden, our Rescue Co-ordinator, whose tireless efforts help to ensure GWP’s in need get the help they deserve.
Details of the full meeting minutes will be published to the members of the Club in due course.
Peter F McCullough
m: 07515 964424