OUR CRUFTS JUDGE 2006
I was born in Peterborough in 1937, attended Fletton County Grammar School and then on to Sir John Cass College - which is part of London University.
I joined the Meteorological Office in 1960 and served at London Heathrow and then Stansted Airport before doing a three year tour of duty at RAF Bruggen in Germany. I returned to RAF Finningley (Yorkshire) in 1968 and then to RAF Bawtry (also Yorkshire) in 1969. My late wife Wendy acquired our first Shih Tzu at this time and also applied for a KC affix (Koonim). Looking back, I wish we still had our first Shih Tzu. Her name was Lyssi Lu and she was a walking catalogue of all the faults that a Shih Tzu could have - absolutely perfect for taking to the modern day seminars.
In 1976 I was posted to Birmingham Airport. In 1984 ATV television - which shortly afterwards became Central TV - came to the Met Office looking for weather forecasters to fill a slot on their daily local news program. I was chosen and over the next five years I made about 1,000 TV appearances and was much in demand for exemp- tion shows across the Midlands as a 'celebrity' - their words not mine - who knew about dogs.
In 1988 I wrote a scientific paper - A study of Persistent Fog - which not only attracted requests for copies from around the world but helped me to gain promotion, which resulted in my being posted to Bracknell in 1989 where I have lived ever since. At Bracknell I was one of the Senior Forecasters with a wide range of responsibilities, including that of Shipping Forecaster and Regional Upper Air Forecaster for Aviation until my retirement in 1997. Having learnt to play Bridge at University, the demands of work and the dogs tended to restrict my playing at first but in the last 10 years I have played a lot at various tournaments
around the UK and currently hold the rank of National Master. I hope to become a Life Master in the next two years (with a bit of luck and some consistent good play). Although I have never actually owned a dog - they were all in my wife's name - I have bathed, groomed, fed and exhibited all our Shih Tzus and have a proud boast of never going home from Crufts empty handed. We never got the 'big one' at Crufts but we were always there in the line-up.
In 1979 I was elected Chairman of Nuneaton Canine Society and held that post until my move to Bracknell. The newly-formed Shar Pei Club of Great Britain asked me to become their Chairman in 1987, especially to assist them with their administrative side. I duly wrote their Club Rule Book, organised their early shows and seminars and published their first few Year Books. Having got them organised, so to speak, I resigned from the chairmanship in 1992. While living in Nuneaton, I was elected onto the Leicester City Championship Show Committee and served there until my move to Bracknell.
In the time we lived in Fillongley near Nuneaton, we used to go to all the local shows and there was a little group of us who met up regularly at these events. There was Tom & Sheila Richardson with their Shih Tzus, Thelma Morgan & Glenys with the Apsos, Sheila Greening with Miniature Schnauzers and David & Venetia Wallace with Tibetan Terriers. We all changed places regularly in the line-ups and all of us learnt a lot about the others' dogs. In fact, if memory serves, we were all founder members of the Midland Lhasa Apso Club.
In 1992 I was elected onto the Richmond Committee where I have served ever since and am currently dubbed the 'Show Architect' as I prepare the computerised plans for the shows; I also keep various show statistics on my computer. I am also in charge of the wet weather accommodation at Richmond for a reason that escapes me!
I judged my first show in 1978 with 4 classes of Shih Tzus and was approved to award CCs in Shih Tzus in 1985. Since then I have also been approved to award CCs in Lhasa Apsos, Tibetan Terriers, Shar Pei and Tibetan Spaniels. Over the years I have now judged well in excess of 1,000 classes at all types of shows and have done BIS at Open Show level 19 times. I have also awarded CACs and CACIBs in Germany, Sweden and Ireland on several occasions.
My first Lhasa Apso appointment was at the Three Counties Show in 1988. Subsequently I have judged them on five other occasions with the highlight coming at Belfast in 1989 when Angela Corish & Anne Ingram went on to BIS. It's a nice feeling for a judge and fingers crossed for 2006. It's about time we had an Apso top of the heap at Crufts, or failing that then a Shih Tzu.