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Gatcombe Park 1986

Every picture tells a story...

Jackie Clarke asked if anyone recognised the people in this picture which she took at Gatcombe Park way back in the early 80s  - before her son Ant was born and before we knew anything about Agility. The equipment looks pretty antiquated! Here's the story behind the picture from the man who ought to know because he was there, Graham Taylor.

I  am near certain the photo was taken Sunday afternoon 17 August 1986 as part of the finale programme to the Barbour British Open, run by HRH Princess Anne and Captain Mark Philips. Robert Andrews is definitely the judge and I reckon the person behind the tyre is Sue Roberts Hamer. The handler could be Brian Elson or maybe Geoff Cove and I was probably glad it wasn't another collie in the ring! The young lady in the fetching hat escapes me.

Seated behind me is my son Luke's Godmother Jan and her other half as well as Robert B (Bartlett) - both of whom, together with Robert A (Andrews), formed the key stalwarts to make this sort of thing run to perfection both here at Gatcombe and at The Royal for The Barbour Knockout Paris Challenge.

1986 was a busy year as we had earlier run the first Jersey Experience over the late May Bank Holiday Weekend with, for the first time ever, Agility on the beach.

I am very pleased to say we are going to repeat the experience later this year some 25 years on.

When asked about the picture, Graham Taylor said, 'I didn't think I had the figure to be on Page 3!

From Mike Bacon...
I just saw the item on Gatcombe 1986, I remember it well for two reasons:-

1) It was a wonderful weekend with fantastic weather, great classes and a fun atmosphere

2) I got through to the final with my sable collie Sabre in the main arena and as we were expecting royal spectators Graham asked me to take my shorts off...and put trousers on.

From Jackie Clarke...
Thanks for the response to the photo. It was great. Nice to put names to faces, although some we still do not know. Little did we know how things would turn out in years to come, and what advances have been made. It's thanks to pioneers like these people that we have agility as it is today.

First published 6 March 2010