25 YEARS AND COUNTING

by Maureen Sutherland

 

The inaugural meeting for a Bernese Mountain Dog Club in Scotland was held on 29th June 1986.  There were 25 names (a requirement of the Kennel Club) all of whom were resident in Scotland (at that time).

On the Founder Members List were;
Lexi & Bert Aird, Rene & Ian Craig, Andrena & Tam Gibson, Janette Graham, Alison & Bill Gray, Claire & David Harkin, Audrey & Bryce Keachie, Ann King, Helen McAulay, Ann, Linda, Eric & William Murray, Catherine & Vie Reid,  Margaret & Andrew Skedd and Agnes & George Wilson.

With the support of the Scottish Kennel Club, registration was eventually granted in June 1987 (one year after the inaugural meeting) with the first official Annual General Meeting of the Club as a KC recognised body being held on the 30th August 1987 and the first Officers were:
President: Mr Peter Mann
Hon. Secretary: Mrs Margaret Skedd
Hon. Treasurer: Mr William Gray
Committee Members were Mr & Mrs Aird, Mrs A. Gray, Mr & Mrs Hyndman, Mrs H. McAulay, Mr & Mrs Smart, Mr A. Skedd and Mr & Mrs Wilson.

Rod and I had joined the Club in the autumn of 1987 and were looking forward (as were all the members) to the Club's first Open Show which was held at Lockerbie Town Hall on 3rd April 1988. The Judge was the late Mr John James (Crensa) who found his Best in Show in Martin's Elnside Huggy Bear out of Post Graduate Dog and Reserve Best in Show was Kirsty Davidson's Duntiblae Dark Understudy out of Post Graduate Bitch. Best Puppy was the Foster's young lady Deneca Hello Goodbye.

The terrible tragedy at Lockerbie in December of that year meant that an alternative venue had to be found for our future Open shows and that turned out to be the Sir John Wilson Town Hall in Airdrie where it was held until April 1997 and then subsequently at The Cochrane Halls Alva.

Challenge Certificates were first awarded to the Scottish Club in 1992 and they held their first Championship Show at Wishaw Sports Centre on 4th October that year with Mrs Sandra Gatward (Timberlog) officiating.  The dog CC and Best in Show went to Ch Neat 'n' Sweet at Ursine owned by George & Agnes Wilson and the Bitch CC and Reserve Best in Show was awarded to the Lamb's home bred Bemalpen Ketje.  In the Reserve CC spots were Berry's Ch Inchberry Maximillian and Botting's (now Flanagan) Ch Collansues Brigitta, with Best Puppy in Show going to Joanna Hudson-Tranberg's Rivenbern Storrebjorn who actually won four classes that day.

In 1997 at the AGM there were changes on the Committee with myself becoming Hon. Secretary and Tom Kelly Hon. Treasurer, Chairman and Vice Chair were George and Agnes Wilson respectively. The other members of the Committee were Mrs G. Broadley, John Cook, Mrs Helen McAulay, Rod Sutherland and Mrs Senga Thomson. I had joined the Committee in 1995 and thoroughly enjoyed being involved with the organising of the shows, especially the Fun Days at Alva and also the production of the Club Magazine along with Tom Kelly, but this was a whole new 'ball-game' as for the past year the Committee had been organising something special for our 10th Anniversary in August in the form of a weekend event at Springwood Park, Kelso

I never knew that five month's could pass so quickly but there we were on Saturday 2nd August in brilliant sunshine watching our judge, Mrs Brenda Griffiths, (who had been coaxed out of retirement to officiate) going over a superb entry of 205 dogs. The Best in Show and Best Veteran was Ann Wells' Ch Fero von Buetigen of Glanzberg at Bernfold, the Bitch CC was awarded to Hallam's Kernow Waltz at Oldberne, and in the Reserve spots were Tony Granger's Black Jack at Shadybower and Michelle Gurney's Monalou Sweet Surrender. Best Puppy was the Stanham's Fernpark Firengi.

The Saturday night 'Rave-up' was a great success with everyone having such a good time we couldn't get them to leave. The Fun Day on Sunday was a repeat of the success of Saturday; blessed with another glorious day and with so many things to do and see the whole day seemed to pass in a flash and before we knew it was all over and time to say "Goodbye and thanks" to everyone who joined in, get on with clearing up, then relax - BLISS!!

1998 and 1999 were very busy years for the Club and the Committee with our Open Shows in March and our popular Fun Days in May, both held at Alva.  We also held a well attended Judging Seminar in August and a very informative Health Seminar in November 1998. Our Championship shows reverted back to our October date at Wishaw Sports Centre and Larkhall Leisure Centre respectively but we were already planning another weekend event for the year 2000 again at Springwood Park.

The year 2000 events started with the Club's AGM on Sunday February 6th followed swiftly by our Open Show on the 20th.  The Fun Day at Alva was also slightly earlier on 30th April giving the Committee more precious time to finalise our planning of 'The Weekend' at Kelso on the 5th and 6th August. Our Judge for the Championship Show was Mr Barry McMath (Breed Specialist) coming all the way from the USA, but Scottish born may I add, and delighted and proud to be Piped into the ring. Once again from start to finish it was a glorious weekend; the caravan park was bursting at the seams, the weather once again favouring us, the ambiance of the exhibitors and their dogs was a pleasure to watch and the evening Knee's Up, (albeit starting a little later than scheduled) was an unmitigated success.  The Sunday, with it's relaxed atmosphere, various attractions and hilarious moments, was a fitting end to a very successful and enjoyable show. So much so that the Committee had numerous
requests to hold this kind of event every year, so we listened to our members, looked into the possibilities and contacted the 'Powers that Be' at Springwood Park and secured the Showground for the next five years, and then advised our members their wish had been granted.

They say "the best laid plans often go astray" and unfortunately this was the case as in early 2001 the dreadful Foot and Mouth outbreak occurred and although it did not affect our Open Show greatly, there was a greater concern it could place our Championship weekend at Springwood Park in jeopardy. The Committee decided to provisionally book Larkhall Leisure Centre for the Championship Show on Saturday 4th August with the distinct possibility we would have to cancel Springwood Park in mind. This, unfortunately, turned out to be the case and the show went ahead at Larkhall with a very good entry for our Judge Mrs Joyce Mann. To make up for the loss of our Sunday Fun Day the Club decided to hold a Christmas Party in November and that was the start of our now 'World Infamous Xmas Do's'.

Since the unfortunate cancellation of our weekend event in 2001 we are glad to say that from 2002 to date it has gone ahead at Springwood Park with no major upsets, although we had to share the venue in 2003 with The National Gundog Association (a double booking error made by the venue).  In December of that year at our Xmas Party I performed my duties as the Secretary for the last time and retired due to health problems. The Secretary's position was filled by the very able and competent Agnes Wilson. The present Committee is;  Mr & Mrs Cook, Mrs A Gerrard, Mrs H McAulay, Miss I McAulay, Mr & Mrs McGarry, Ms McGlashan, Mr S Thomson and Mr & Mrs Wilson.

The Scottish Club has always had, and I personally feel rightly so, a great reputation for overall hospitality and generosity to their members and beyond.

The weekend event itself has grown in stature has been hailed as the "Bernese event of the Year" by the many people who travel great distances to come time after time, and bring their friends.  The carting fraternity who participate gets larger and more colourful every year;  what a power of work they put into all they do. The weather gods have on the whole been kind to us with only two exceptions when we had to use the wet weather rings in 2008 and 2011. The Companion Show and Fun Day on the Sunday has so much to choose from for our members who are not show orientated but still like to bring along their best friend and meet with other like-minded owners. On the subject of our Saturday Night Rave, what can I say? Once you sample it, you never want to miss it.

The Club's Open Show's and popular Fun Days, along with the Xmas Parties are all well attended at Alva and the hard working and dedicated Committee never rest on their laurels and are planning from one show to the next.  I bet they have next few year's already mapped out.

Will I be there? You can bet your sweet life on that - I wouldn't miss it for the world.
To The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Scotland, Happy 25th Anniversary.
"Here's tae ye, wha's like ye"
Mo Sutherland

 





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