HISTORY OF THE SOUTH WEST WHIPPET CLUB
In response to the growing number of whippet enthusiasts living in the south west peninsula and its relatively isolated geographical position, the South West Whippet Club was formed in 1993 and held its inaugural Open Show in March 1994 at Willand Village Hall, near Cullompton, Devon. The show was well supported with an entry of 138. BIS was June Kennard’s Walkabout Woodpecker of Rivedo and Res. BIS was Copsebury Classic Copy, bred and owned by Anne Moss.
The photograph below ( taken by the late Lionel Young) shows, left to right, Mrs. Gill Andrew (Hon. Secretary) Miss Susan Baird ( dog judge) Mrs. Joanna Russell ( President) Mr. Dennis Battershall (Chairman) Mrs Carol Neale (bitch judge) Mrs. Reena Clarke (Hon. Treasurer) and Patron, Mrs. Mollie Garrish, famous for her Fleeting Whippets and Italian Greyhounds.
Not in photograph: Mrs. Pat Brown. (Vice Chairman)
The first Committee representing all areas of the region were: Mrs. Noreen Battershall, Mrs. Sue Criddle, Mrs. Doreen Dicker, Mrs. Miranda Hall, Mrs. Jill James, Mrs. Janet Mcbride, Mrs. Dee Powell, Mrs. Mary Rigby, Miss Barbara Vergette, Mrs. AnneVickerstaff, Mr. Mike White and Mrs. June Yeo.
From the earliest days it was thought important to include people who are not primarily concerned with showing. To this end the first Fun Day, held in conjunction with the
West Somerset Whippet Racing Club took place in July 1996 on the hallowed turf of the Taunton Polo Club’s ground at Orchard Portman. In addition to the Fun Dog show, whippets had opportunities to try racing, also lure coursing which was run by Nick and Elaine Walker. The Whippet Club Obedience Team, all dressed in their matching red tea shirts, came to give us a demonstration and returned to give another at Ugbrooke in 2006.
Delicious, home made refreshments were served from a small, thatched pavilion overseen by Barbara Vergette. A feature of SWWC events which has endured to this day.
Lady Clifford became our Patron in 1998 and from August 2000 Ugbrooke Park, Chudleigh would be home to the Fun Day for the next 13 years, thanks to the generosity of Lord and Lady Clifford. Competitions such as The Fastest Recall, The Nimble Whippet, The Long Jump, and Sausage and Spoon race were introduced.
Each year Llyn Chapman would make the long journey from West Wales to bring the J.R. Whippet Rescue stall.
By September 1996 the Club was holding two Open shows a year and had moved to The Community Centre, North Petherton.
By 2000 Anne Vickerstaff had become Secretary and Yvonne Hull our Treasurer. The following year Pat Brown had taken over as Chairman.
In February 2004 the Club celebrated its 10th birthday having moved to the larger venue at East Bridgwater Community School. The judges were Mrs. Linda Jones (Welstar) for bitches and Mrs. Margaret Dixon (Millwold) for dogs. BIS was Mr. and Mrs. Clarke’s Arjuna Joie de Vivre and Res. BIS and BP was Ms. Mary Turney’s Stonifleet Silver Wings, from a super entry of 191. There was wine, a beautiful cake in the Club colours and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere prevailed.
The next important milestone for the Club was the acquisition of Championship Show status. The first Championship show in February 2010 was held at Wellsprings Leisure Centre, Taunton, attracting an entry of 251 exhibits from 303 entries with 31 dogs N.F.C. The judges for this occasion were Mr. Mike Howgate (Palmik) for dogs and Mrs. Mary Lowe (Nimrodel) for bitches. Referee was Mrs. Joan Vagges. The JHA classes were judged by Helen Rishworth. BIS was Anne and Rachel Snelgrove’s Ch. Huntinghill Jazzalicious JW. BOS was Hannah Russell’s Willingwisp Star Trooper. Res. BIS was Mr. and Mrs. Mcleod’s Peperone Pieris. A pastel head study of the BIS winner by Mary Browning and a pastel head study of the Res. BIS by Diana Webber were presented to their respective owners.
SWWC looks forward to its 9th Ch Show in February 2018 and to its Open show in September at Blackbrook Pavilion, Taunton.
Having held a breed specific seminar back in 2007and another in 2013 focusing on Ring Stewarding and Canine Health preparations are underway for our 3rd Breed Specific seminar with Assessment in October.
In July 2017 the Fun Day was held for the first time at Escot Park, Ottery St Mary, by kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. J-M Kennaway.
Our present secretary, Mrs. Anne Prowse , took up the reins in 2011, Pat Brown became our President, and Mary Rigby Chairman.