Paignton and District Fanciers Association
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Back in 1909 the late W J Nichols (father of Alec Nichols) judged the dog section of Paignton Fanciers Association in the basement of the Public Halls at Paignton which housed the various livestock sections of the Society.

In 1923 the plunge was taken to hold the first open air show in Queens Park and the 56 classes were judged by Sam Graham of Sevenoaks with 463 entries. The Joint secretaries were Jack Baker and the late Fred Collings and the committee were basically the same all round fancier enthusiasts responsible for the varied activities of the Society’s annual November show. The President was P P Oddie a well known poultry breeder. Prominent winners included Miss Veale of Paignton with her bulldog Gentlemen George. Added attraction was a class for puppy walkers for the Herbert Whitley kennels. The entry increased in 1924 under the same committee with Sam Crabtree as the all-rounder and Dr Rosslyn Bruce on Terriers. At the luncheon, responding for the judges, Dr Bruce gave a prophetic opinion that the show was on the high road to championship status. Grand Challenge winner was Sidney Castle of Plymouth with his Smooth Red Flag, Herbert Whitley’s Prinley Mahala English Setter was run up.

The 1925 show with 629 entries was marred by rain at midday with the judges R T Baines and Roger Thomas completing their task in the grandstand pavilion. The Paignton show was steadily gaining popularity and entries were recorded from Penzance, Yorkshire, Wales and Wembley. J J Dale’s Ch Roborough Playboy was the 1925 top dog. The show was four years old in 1926 and nearly reached its first four figure entry with 957 dogs. Mr Harry Foster came in to assist the secretary. A sudden gale blew marquees down but the show went on successfully. Sidney Castle’s Red Flag, now a Champion, was Best In Show with A Kitto’s terrier winning sporting and Miss Gladys Salter’s winning best non sporting with her Great Dane puppy. Mrs Q E Newberry of Exeter (Grandmother of international horse jumper Tony Newberry) was prominent in Collies.

In 1927 with Jack Baker as Secretary and Fred Collings as Show Manager the entry shot up to 1300, a record for any non-Championship Show in the West. Old English Sheepdogs were a feature with Ch Elkington Squire and Ch Peggy Wallflower from Mrs A Beard’s Downderry Kenny at Marldon, Paignton sweeping the board. Added attractions included Police Dog Trials arranged by Geoffrey Robertson and Whippet Racing organised by the St Budeaux Club in the evening. An event which drew a huge crowd and much appreciated by the President Sir Alfred Goodson who came from Lancashire, home of whippet racing. At the official luncheon in 1928 Sir Alfred was able to compare Paignton’s 1400 entries with Leeds Championship Show entry of 1240 on the same day. In 1929 the entry dropped to just 1300 due mainly, it was said, to other shows clashing. Sam Crabtree was the all rounder with Harry Scott (Secretary of Taunton Championship Show) judging gundogs, Lt Col Whithead of Kilmarnock judging West Highland Whites and Cairns and Major Baldwin (pioneer of Obedience Classes in England) Alsatians. Cockers with an entry of 220 were the most popular breed.

The 1930 show was distinguished by the election of the Society’s first lady President Mrs M Warneford, herself a noted budgerigar breeder but versatile enough to show equal enthusiasm for the success of the dog show. The judging panel again included Dr Rosslyn Bruce (described by his biographer as ‘the last of the eccentrics’), H J (Gulval) Eakers – Cockers and John Lee Bulled – Retrievers. J H J Braddon (a judge at the 1976 Paignton Championship Show) was first in all the Irish Setter classes, his connection with Paignton extended over 50 years. It was at this show that Secretary Jack Baker introduced the Children’s Costume Class which became a popular annual event and on that occasion it made history by being the subject of one of Pathe Gagette’s first ‘talkies’. The same team with the addition of such old timers as Mr and Mrs Collom and Mr Len Doidge continued, apart from the war years, to function until 1947 when, owing to business commitments, Jack Baker was obliged to resign and break the Collings-Baker partnership of over 20 years.

There were no shows during the war years. At the last Open Show held 19th July 1950 the Chairman was Mr J S Collings and Joint Sec Mr & Mrs A Hall; it drew an entry of 584 dogs making 1446 entries. This team continued from 1950 to 1953. 4th July 1951 was the debut for Paignton's Championship Show, held at Queens Park, and it received much praise in the dog papers as it was a 'lovely show' and 'the setting was superb'. The show was opened by the Earl of Devon and had an entry of 2395 made of 1260 dogs representing 35 breeds and 342 classes. Indeed this show was the first all breed championship show to be held in the county.

In 1954 Mr A Wendley took over as Chairman and Mr J A Robatson was appointed Hon Sec. In 1955 the association suffered a great blow when it was considered that the Championship Show might not take place. With a great effort being made, many people rallying around and support from many life members, the Committee held fete's etc and monies were raised. The Show was reorganised and new Committee members elected a change of Secretary with Mrs J Jack taking over. The Fanciers position improved and the put on a much sounder financial footing.

1958 saw a new Treasurer in Mr H Baker. In 1959 Mr Wensley left the district and Mr A Westlake was Chairman. The Association continued to improve and 1962 saw the move to a new venue at Clannon Valley having outgrown Queens Park. Mr Westlake, Mr Baker and Mrs Jack continued in office until 1975.

Copyright © 2012-2024 Paignton and District Fanciers Association. All rights reserved. 23 February 2024