Author Archives: FlatcoatChris

Show Champion Woodavens Crackerjack

Woodavens Crackerjack at the NEFRA open show

Woodavens Crackerjack at the NEFRA open show


It all started when one day I was laid on Dawn Warrington’s lounge floor surrounded by balls of black fur, after hours of deliberation and tea. I was finally picked by an outgoing 4-legged super pup, but at this time I did not know that. He was picked up by his new owners Hazel and Paul and the next I saw him he was this nearly six-month-old wonder pup. His first show was Gundog Breeds of Scotland and this is where he proved that he was what I thought he would be, some five months earlier. He won Minor Puppy Dog, Puppy Dog, Best Puppy and pulled out in the last eight for Best Puppy in Show,what a start.

We were on our way. The next mile stone was in a junior class just out of puppy, Ann Youens gave him his first Reserve CC. The next was his first CC provided by Becky Johnson, and the rest is history.

Hugo’s total achievements were 11 Challenge Certificate’s 9 Reserve Challenge Certificate’s 5 Best of Breeds and a fantastic group-4 from a BOB given by Jim Irvine at the East of England Showground.

The Crowning glory of was Best in Show United Retriever Club from Ray Strudwick

Hugo was retired at 10 years old, due to failing health, and has lived with his Mom and Dad in Cheshire, but sadly lost his brave battle on Wednesday 31st October 2018.

Sleep peacefully old friend.

Bob Allen handled in the show ring by HUGO MOORES.

NEFRA Championship Show 2018

On November 4th 2018 NEFRA held their breed championship show at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, Stoke-on-Trent.

The judges at this show were (Dogs) Mr H Nelson (Byeways), (Bitches) Mrs J Donnelly (Eskmill) Referee, Junior Handling and Brace Mrs H Fox

  • Best In Show (Dog CC) was awarded to Strudwick’s SH CH DOWNSTREAM FAIR AND SQUARE FOR BURPHAM JW ShCM.
  • Reserve Best In Show (Res Dog CC) was awarded to Holland’s CH CALZEAT CAUSA COMMOTION AT FLATCHARM (IMP)
  • Best Opposite Sex (Bitch CC) was awarded to Malone’s SH CH KISSOCK WEESLEEKIT FOR KIRKBECK JW
  • Reserve Bitch CC was awarded to Curtis’ TALLISTAR MIDNIGHT ISLA
  • Best Puppy was awarded to Bright’s HOPEVALLEY MORNING TWISTER
  • Best Veteran was awarded to Holland’s CH CALZEAT CAUSA COMMOTION AT FLATCHARM (IMP)

Other Results NEFRA Champ Show 2018 Results

Interview with George Lancaster

This article was first published in Wagging Tails (the NEFRA newsletter) in Spring 2002.  George was our first NEFRA President and helped the association really find its feet in its early years.

After more than 50 years in the show ring George has decided to hang up his judging badge. As George says “I am not retiring from the dog world but just from judging as I don’t want people to say ‘look at that silly old man, he doesn’t know what he is doing’.” Hopefully this article and the answers to the questions posed will give you an insight into the charismatic figure that is so well known in gundog circles.

George was born during the first world war and has been around dogs all his life as his father was a manager of a Hackney stud farm and when exercising the horses on the road he had two Dalmatians to run. On leaving school he went into motor engineering and at the outbreak of the second world war he served in the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) for the duration as a vehicle mechanic.  In 1950 he joined Rolls Royce as an engine tester and remained with the company until he retired in 1981.  On leaving he then became gamekeeper at Crewe Hall where he had been involved as a beater for the previous twenty years.

His very first dog was an Irish setter, which he rescued from a police officer.  When he was discharged after the second world war he purchased his first golden retriever, a dog that cost him twelve guineas, not a lot of money you may think but at the time it was three weeks wages. This dog died of kidney problems when he was only four years old.  He then purchased a seven month old golden retriever bitch, Lady Christina, that the breeder insisted was shown.  At her first show she won ‘Best Gundog other than a cocker’.  He also at this point has an affix of Sandcroft which he let lapse.  His current affix is Oakmoss, and Halstock Juliet produced his first champion Oakmoss Ambassador. He only breeds a litter when he wants a new dog and has never owned more than two or three dogs at a time.  His wife, Mavis, keeps Sussex spaniels.

How did you come to have a flatcoat?
I was at a show with one of my golden retrievers sitting at a ring next to Mrs Grew Broadley and a bitch that she was showing put her head to my knee. That bitch was Ch Rungles Witch. I then went to Birmingham National to look at the breed and ordered a puppy from Mrs Lock, that was my first flatcoated retriever in the March of 1963, a bitch called Halstock Black Dahlia, for twenty five pounds, which was again the equivalent of three weeks wages. My next bitch was Halstock Juliette, my all time favourite flatcoat.  I worked and showed her obtaining one CC and twelve reseve CCs.  She won open bitch at Crufts and the field trial dog/bitch class.  She beat nine champions but failed to get the reserve ticket.

How long have you been judging at dog shows?
I started judging in 1951, starting off with simple matches, moved onto sanction shows, followed by limited shows.  My first open show was at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, where I judged all the terriers, Dalmatians, variety classes and also best in show.  My first championship show judging appointment was twenty eight years ago. It was the second National Gundog show (1973) held at Kempton Park racecourse when I judged Sussex spaniels. My last championship show was the City of Birmingham show (2001) when I judged large Munsterlanders. (George is actually qualified to judge ten different breeds of gundogs).  My first flatcoated retriever judging appointment at a championship show was the third National Gundog show when a young whippersnapper called Audrey Forster won the bitch ticket.  I have judged abroad, with my favourite being the Scandinavian countries where the standards of exhibits are high.

Do you have a memorable show that springs to mind?
Yes, a Flatcoated Retriever Society championship show when I had fifty-three bitches in post-graduate.  Whenever there are two judges for the breed I always seem to end up with the bitches (but George has always been one for the ladies!)

What do you look for when judging flatcoats?
Shape, the dog has got to look like a flatcoat.  An example of that was when I judged at the City of Birmingham show there was a bitch, Gemswin Perhaps Love, a super dog that totally looked the part.  I could not fault her so she got the bitch ticket and best of breed; the poor handler was totally overawed as it was her bitch’s first ticket.

Any memorable quotes that spring to mind?
Yes, two. The first was when I was at Macclesfield show with Halstock Juliet. Fred Dempster (the judge), a terrier man, came up to me and said ‘George, you’ve got a cracking bitch there but you move like a bloody pansy!’. The second was at my first ever committee meeting for FCRS held at Dr Nancy Laughton’s house.  At the time I was a heavy smoker and to be honest overawed by being at this meeting with Brigadiers and the like. Nancy always provided lunch and after lunch she said, ‘Have a cigar, George.’ I was shy then and replied ‘No thank you doctor’. She said ‘Go on my lad, then I can have one!’. Nice gesture and it put me as one of them. When my name came up to go on the judging list I was sent out of the room for what seemed like ages. When I went back in, Amelia Jessel said what had taken the time was whether to put me on as an all rounder or a breed specialist. I ended up as breed specialist.

What societies have you been involved with during your career?
I now limit my time to NEFRA, North West Counties Spaniel Club and the Sussex Spaniel Association but I have served as Chairman of the Flatcoated Retriever Society, Chairman of the Sussex Spaniel Association, Chairman of the United Spaniels, Chairman of the Spaniel Council of Europe, Chairman of the Stoke Gundog Society and President of the Potteries Canine Association.  I have served on the Kennel Club breed liaison for flatcoated retrievers as a delegate.  Mavis has also served as an officer with most of these societies as well.

Could you be tempted back into the ring?
I am on the ‘roll-of-honour’ with the National Gundog Show and if they asked me to judge Best In Show I would consider coming out of retirement.

What are your hopes for NEFRA?
I am one of the founding members and have seen it grow over the years. I would say to keep the atmosphere at shows as good as it is at the moment, if the show is enjoyable then people will come again.

What do you plan to do now?
I will still go to championship shows, but just to watch. As you know I enjoy cross-stitching, I am currently doing a ‘Camargue Horses’ sampler.

Any last thoughts
I have enjoyed the whole world of dogs whether it be show, obedience or field trials and I have made many friends worldwide.  I would like to thank everyone for all the pleasure they have given me over the years. All the best for 2002.

Working Retriever Assessment October 2018

NEFRA held a Working Retriever Assessment at Intake Head near Oldham by kind permission of Jean Buckley. A very wet day for the hardy handlers!

Chris Hewison and Gill Awty judged the novice level, and awarded four passes

  • Sue Sinnott and Millola Handsome Man
  • Caroline Hewison and Casblaidd Island in the Sky
    (both having achieved their second stage)
    Two handlers achieved their third stage and were awarded their Novice Certificates.
    Well done to
  • Lisa Jane Mappin and Casblaidd Valdoonican
  • Al Moore and Shiraz Pebble

Chris Hewison judged the intermediate level and a 3rd pass and their Intermediate Certificate were awarded to

  • Gill Awty and Venetian Red at Maddistream.

Well done everyone.
Thanks to Malcolm Awty and Peter Griffin for dummy throwing, and thanks to everyone for turning out on a very wet day

Autumn Working Test 2018

Castle Howard

Castle Howard

There was a truly international flavour and a wonderful turnout for our Autumn Working Test at the Castle Howard Estate on Seeptember 30th 2018.

A huge thank you was extended to the Estate and Clive Harrison the gamekeeper for hosting us at such a lovely venue.

The judges who had to work so hard were Mick Newsam (our panel judge), Yvonne Storr and Cath Kitching.  They did an absolutely sterling job

With entries from Holland and a guest visitor from the Flatcoated Retriever Society of Japan it has become clear to us that we must be doing somIMG_7529ething right!

Thanks were also extended to  Garry Ellison (our Chief Steward) for test setting and stewarding, and generally managing to be at one end of the field and the other at the same time keeping everything flowing.

We are blessed by the work put in by our band of helpers who always step up and throw dummies for us, stewarding, firing pistols, and placing blinds, which shows what great team work makes up a successful day!

NEFRA would also like to thank Caro Dell from Workingline Images for all the photography!   Her photos will be available shortly.  It was a very long day, but very worthwhile.

Puppy (6 entries)
1st Caroline Hewison with Casblaidd Island in the Sky winning the Whiteabbey Salver
2nd Jan Egginton with Pajanbeck Georgy Girl
3rd Anne Kitching with Casblaidd Angel’s Landing
4th Gill Griffin with Ravencrag Illusionist


Puppy Award Winners – photo courtesy of WorkingLine Images

Novice Dog, Novice Handler (8 entries)
1st Amber Nicholls with Featheringay Raven Prince winning the Maddistream Trophy and the Yonsaff Cup for Best Newcomer (and a prize for a free photo session with Caro Dell)
2nd Al Moore with Shiraz Pebble
3rd Mags Brayfield with Keamarola Private Dancer
COM Charlotte Knowles with Mistledawn Manyclouds
COM Mags Brayfield with Contar Skeggles Water
COM Janet Botterill with Chanangel My Swallow
COM Lindsay Kinnaird with Lunar Eclipse.


Novice Dog / Novice Handler Winner photo courtesy of WorkingLine Images

Novice (16 entries)
1st Derek Bull with Keepersway Alana winning the Strider Plate (and Judges’ Choice)
2nd Caroline Hewison with Donascimento Danilo from Casblaidd
3rd Julie Matthews with Ollersett Rainbow
4th Al Moore with Shiraz Pebble

Novice Winners

Novice Winners photo courtesy of WorkingLine Images

Open (13 entries)
1st Gill Awty with Venetian Red at Maddistream winning the Open trophy (and Judges’ Choice)
2nd Caroline Hewison and Donascimento Danilo from Casblaidd
3rd Ditmar Diunkerken-Jense with Quail’s Floyd’s Fleurie
4th Keith Aldred with Donascimento Santos
COM Caroline Hewison with Venus in Transit over Casblaidd

Open Winners

Open Winners photo courtesy of WorkingLine Images

Well done to everyone and thank you all for coming.

Working Retriever Assessment Day – Wigan

NEFRA members visited a lovely new venue near Wigan today, by very kind permission of Sarah Marflow.

With wonderful hospitality and gorgeous ground NEFRA held a Working Retriever Assessment for novice and intermediate dogs.

Thanks to our judges Chris Hewison and Gill Griffin, and thanks to our helpers Garry Ellison, Malcolm Awty and Peter Griffin.

Well done to the following dogs who passed a stage of the novice level.

  • Lisa-Jane Mappin and Casblaidd Valdoonican
  • Al Moore and Shiraz Pebble
  • Caroline Hewison and Casblaidd Island in the Sky

Well done to Gill Awty and Venetian Red at Maddistream who passed an Intermediate stage.

Well done everyone and thanks all for coming

Lisa-Jane Mappin and Casblaidd Valdoonican, Gill Awty and Venetian Red at Maddistream, Al Moore and Shiraz Pebble, Caroline Hewison and Casblaidd Island in the Sky

Lisa-Jane Mappin and Casblaidd Valdoonican, Gill Awty and Venetian Red at Maddistream, Al Moore and Shiraz Pebble, Caroline Hewison and Casblaidd Island in the Sky

(Photo courtesy of Lisa)

Introduction to Working Tests Training Day

NEFRA held an Introduction to Working Tests Training Day on Saturday 18th August 2018 at  Glasson Dock near Lancaster held by kind permission of Dave Charnley and his family

This day was aimed specifically at people new to gundog work and particularly Novice Dog/Novice Handlers who may be interested in learning what a Working Test might involve.

Thank you to everyone who came along . Thanks to our trainers /judges Gill Awty, Gill Griffin, Garry Ellison and Chris Hewison for all the guidance and tips for our novice handlers, and thank you to our helpers Malcolm Awty, Peter Griffin and Val and Den Orme.

We had four different exercises for all the dogs to practice on in the morning, and then the same exercises were repeated under ‘test’ conditions in the afternoon.

1st Mags Brayfield and Contar Skeggles Water
2nd Mags Brayfield and Keamarola Private Dancer
3rd Al Moore and Shiraz Pebble
4th Lisa Jane Mappin and Casblaidd Valdoonican.

An award was also given as the most improved handler during the day to Debs Gourlay.
Well done everyone and hope to see you entering the Novice dog/novice handler class at our working test in September

Working Retriever Assessment

NEFRA held a Working Retriever Assessment at Garstang today, by kind permission of the Fitzherbert-Brockholes family.

This is a lovely venue and some good tests were set by our judges Chris Hewison and Gill Griffin. Thanks also to Malcolm Awty and Peter Griffin for throwing dummies.

In the Novice level passes were awarded to
Lisa-Jane Mappin and Casblaidd Valdoonican
Mags Brayfield and Contar Skeggles Water

Mags Brayfield and Contar Skeggles Water

Mags Brayfield and Contar Skeggles Water

Lisa-Jane & Heath

Lisa-Jane Mappin and Casblaidd Valdoonican

In the Intermediate level a pass was awarded to
Gill Awty and Venetian Red at Maddistream.

Gill & Indie

Gill Awty and Venetian Red at Maddistream


Well done, and thanks to everyone for coming.

Gary and Elaine Whiting

It is with great sadness that we have recently heard of the loss this month of two of the founder members of NEFRA.

Both Gary Whiting and his wife Elaine (Spenbeck) worked very hard on the committee and treasurer for many years.  The funeral will be held in their home town of Mirfield on a date that has not yet been confirmed.  NEFRA pass on their condolences to their relatives at this sad time.


Taken from the local newspaper:

WHITING Gary Maxwell 1953 – 2018 Elaine Margaret 1955 – 2018 Gary passed away on Friday 8th June 2018, aged 64 years, sadly followed by his dear wife Elaine on Thursday 28th June 2018, aged 62 years, at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield and of Kitson Hill Road, Mirfield. “Gary and Elaine will be greatly missed by all family and friends.” A service of celebration for Gary and Elaine’s life will take place on Wednesday 11th July 2018 at Christ the King Parish Church, Stocksbank Lane, Mirfield at 1:45 pm, followed by committal and cremation at Huddersfield Crematorium, Fixby, at 2.45 pm, followed by refreshments at Old Bank W.M.C., Old Bank Road, Mirfield. Will friends please accept this intimation. Family flowers only please but donations in lieu, if so desired, for the benefit of the R.N.L.I. may be left in the collection box provided at the funeral service or sent to Richard Fearnley Independent Funeral Directors; 745, Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury. Tel: 01924 494435 for all enquiries