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Remembering friends who have passed away...

 2024

Kathrin Tasker
10th July 1957 - 31st March 2024

As people will now be aware, Kathrin died on 31st March after a long and debilitating illness. Several years ago she became unwell and required chemo and radiotherapy. In true Kathrin fashion, she only told two people of her diagnosis and continued to work during all her treatments.  She required major surgery 18 months ago, followed by chemo and radiotherapy more or less continuously since then.  Again, once over her surgery, she was back teaching at Millbrok, the club she started at least 30 years ago, and was doing so up to a week before her sudden decline.

Where dogs were concerned, anything Kathrin decided to do she did well.  This started in the 70s when she appeared on TV's 'Thatís Life, skipping rope with her first dog Gypsy, a small Tibetan Terrier!'

She worked Gypsy at agility too. In those days, little dogs had to jump 2ft 6in like the big dogs.

In 1991 they both qualified for the Mini Agility Challenge at Crufts and came 2nd. Since then Kathrin has qualified all her dogs over the years for either Olympia or Crufts - other than her second dog, a rather challenging Briard - achieving top 10 places and, at least, one win. 

She did, however, qualify her Briard for the flyball finals at Crufts around 30 years ago and made it through to the second day with a team comprising, believe it or not, of a Labrador, a Goldie, a German Shepherd and her Briard!

She did however qualify her Briard for the Flyball finals at Crufts around 30 years ago and made it through to the second day with a team comprising, believe it or not, of a Labrador, a Goldie, a German Sherpherd and her Briard!

Kathrin judged at Olympia, a very proud moment, but nothing quite matched running her dogs.

She ran her own club, Millbrook Agility Dogs.  During this time a significant number of people started their agility journey being trained by Kathrin.  Many of them now run their own clubs, but hundreds owe their love of this sport to her.

Millbrook always welcomed and encouraged members of all abilities and was particularly well known for being an 'all breed' club.  One of the venues had some pigs in the adjacent field Ė she even managed to get one of them round a course although not all the equipment was attempted and KC rules were definitely not followed. Kathrin even introduced Search & Rescue lessons and Hoopers to the club.

Her last proudest moment was being in the GB team with two of her dogs at IMCA/ PAWC last year, although this was a challenge as her health had begun to decline.

Kathrinís death came as a big shock to all her friends, club members and colleagues. The agility world has lost a wonderful trainer and the world a gentle person who lived for her dogs and loved to see her pupils move on. She will be greatly missed but has certainly left a lasting legacy.

Debbie Palmer



From Hege Hurdwell...

I was shocked and numbed and overwhelmed with grief when I heard of the passing of Kathrin Tasker.

Kathrin was a very private person, but she did tell me of her illness which started some years ago. She fought hard and bounced back but got poorly again. This time it was a long and slow recovery. She was, however, positive and was looking forward to going away with the dogs, training and competing.

I joined Millbrook Agility Club 27 years ago and was immediately impressed by Kathrin's teaching skills. She welcomed everyone whether you wanted to compete or not. Her emphasis was on enjoying that special time with your dogs, learning new skills and always be supportive of everyone in the class. The number of people all over the UK and abroad whom she helped over the years was mind-blowing. Though she started agility in the early days, her training was always up to date as agility evolved. It didn't matter what breed or size of dog it was. Her knowledge and expertise were 1st class in everything she taught whether it be agility, hoopers, behaviour, search or scent.

Dogs loved her including mine.

She helped me to achieve so many goals that I never thought possible, and she did the same for so many others, too.

In addition to being an excellent instructor, she was an amazing handler, too. Every dog she brought out, she achieved with. She qualified for so many finals with her own dogs as well as dogs she ran for a few others. Winning Olympia with her dog Chi as well as numerous other wins with her in agility and the few Hoopers shows she went to she nailed, too.

Back in the day, when she judged, she was a firm favourite with many - especially the ABC handlers - because of her course design. Only a few people get invited to judge at Olympia, and Kathrin was one of them.

She qualified as a search & rescue handler. She and her Lurcher Winnie were called out on a real search. They found the vulnerable person and saved a life!

games in the water or just chilling with them at the field.

Over the years she put on many events for club members as well as others including training days, club BBQ with fun competitions, Christmas fun, guest trainers, club competitions at Loosley House and demonstration events. The list goes on.

Kathrin and I ran Fizz and Kefaah in a few Pairs classes, I remember I was so honoured she would run her Advanced dog with my Novice ABC dog. She then invited Kefaah and me to do teams with her, Pat Blair and Jenny Willis. And that's when I started travelling around the country for our Team runs. Such fantastic memories from this time.

I taught classes for her for many years but unfortunately when all the lockdowns happened, we had to sell up and move, leaving my dream training place and job. I was very upset and I know Kathrin was, too. It was a difficult time for both of us.

We kept in touch but not as often as before. My biggest regret is not sending her a message to check some weeks ago. She was my teacher to the end. I am sorry, Kathrin. Love you lots and there's only one Kathrin. She'd understand what I mean. If there's another place we go, I know she will have the biggest smile as she's greeted by her beloved dogs Gypsy, Zoe, Ozman. Fizz, Kaya, Chi and Winnie.

Thank you for everything Kathrin. And thank you for giving Charlie such a fabulous home. I know leaving him, Mole and Evie would have been a worry for you but I can reassure that they are all safe and in very good hands.

So long dear friend and so sorry I wasn't there.


Pam Rawson
Died 15 March 2024

Very sad news to hear that Pam Rawson has passed away.

Pam attended Jumping Jacks for many years with her good friend Iris. In later years, after a serious illness and a long time in hospital, she was still determined to do agility.

Her health problems meant she couldn't run anymore but, even with her oxygen tank, Pam and her dog Rory still maanged some spectacular wins which were very emotional to watch. Pam's determination to carry on agility and the bond with her dogs awarded her with the Special Partnership Award, voted for almost unanimously by our members.

Pam, you have been - and always will be - missed at the shows. Rest In peace.

Kate Theobald - Jumping Jacks Association

Pam's children Tracey Lavender and Robbie Axel Kaiser would like to thank everyone for their heart felt messages. They have been comforted to know how much loved she was.


 2023

Dr. Ann (Atkinson)
1935 - 2024

Dr. Ann Atkinson's initial entry into the dog world was through her interest in obedience whist with with Melton Dog Club in the 1970s. She took part with Penny, a lovely dog who also used to keep her in the surgery while attending to her patients. She also competed with Fran and Gail.

Dr. Ann attended the very first agility show in Lincoln. She also spent some years with Empingham DTC. For many years, she enjoyed many years competing at agility shows around the country. Dr. Ann was the Medic at Dogs in Need for several years during the 1990s.

Dr. Ann and her dog Jimmy were extremely successful - and very popular - with the spectators at the fast and exciting sport of Clever Dogs, a combination of agility and flyball, held at country shows up and down the country. They held the title of the UK Clever - Dogs Champion and that title remains with Jimmy over the Rainbow Bridge.

She successfully took part in BFA Flyball with the Melton Rovers Flyball team for many years and, in her later years, enjoyed her time with Wuff 'n Ready Flyball team. She also liked to take part in exemption dogs shows especially where the proceeds were going to charities,

Dr. Ann was a big part of East Midlands Dog Agility Club (EMDAC) and gave us much support when we embarked on starting up the first independent (non-KC) agility shows. As a trainer for EMDAC, she had a very caring and encouraging manner, and she had a special skill at putting her nervous pupils at ease. She attended the BAA shows around the country and always had kind words for for all the competitors and show organisers.

Dr. Ann was a very kind and caring person, respected by all. She will be sadly missed.

June Bass


 

Polly Williams
29th October 1947 - 11th January 2024

Polly was a well known agility helper at shows and competitor over many years. She adored her horses and her dogs.

She was a true free spirit in the 1960s who loved travel (including many hitch hiking adventures),

It was in the 1980s whilst riding her horse home that she saw someone working their dog over agility equipment in local parkland. She immediately thought this needed further investigation and returned to the location later with her dog.  She met Kathrin Tasker there and she was soon addicted to agility.

Over the years she worked different breeds.  In 1997 she won the first Agility Club Starters Challenge with her collie Jeanie.

Latterly she was better known for working her Papillon Daisy and then her Shelties.

She was also well known for her somewhat dilapidated caravan called Pumpkin. She loved to be able to arrive at shows early and help set up, enjoying the opportunity for good 'chats.'

Polly leased a field adjacent to her house which she equipped with agility equipment. Over the years, apart from giving her friends free access to her field, she hosted many training days with top instructors - most of whom are still going strong! The finale to each session was tea or soup, baked potatoes and biscuits in her large, double-fronted garage furnished with chairs and tables. Chatter and laughter would go on for hours.

Unfortunately, Polly suffered a debilitating illness in her mid 60s which meant she could no longer compete but she continued to welcome friends to enjoy her field.

She passed away quietly and peacefully, with no fuss, which was exactly how Polly would have wanted.

Debbie Palmer



Martin of M&B Catering

We regret to announce the passing of Martin of M&B Caterers on 7th January 2024.

He was a lovely man - always cheerful and welcoming to their stall and always cracking jokes while keep agility people fed.

The funeral will take place on Friday, 26th January 2024 at 3pm at Peterborough Crematorium (PE6 7JE)

All are welcome to a gathering afterwards at Peterborough Rugby Club (PE1 5XA) a=ti remember and celebrate Martin's life. Please wear bright colourful clothing and a smile!

Val Amps & Others



Rose Emberton
1961-2023

Sad and - in disbelief - to hear that Rose has been cruelly taken far too soon. I am lucky to have met such a lovely, friendly, happy person with such a positive attitude.

She was one of dog agility's great distance handlers who was always thriving to bring out the best in Rags and not let her bad ankle prevent her from competing. She didn't even realise how good she had become.Her friends are sponsoring a steeplechase class at JDA in her memory as it was Rag's favourite class.

Will really miss her at my monthly training groups at Sharnbrook.

My thoughts are with her family, closest friends and pets.

Sam Lane


 
Bill Chuter

It is with a heavy heart that we report the very sad news that our dear friend Bill Chuter has passed away.

Bill was one of the first every people to compete in the 'new' sport' of agility with his stunning GSD Nesta (Odeon Nesta Square.)

A lifelong Burridge DTC member and one of the founder members of The Agility Club, Bill was the ring manager at the infamous and much loved Southsea Show. He was also the person who introduced agility in The Netherlands in the 80s.

Our thoughts at this difficult time are with his wife Fiona and daughter Rebecca.

The funeral; will take place on Tuesday, 21st November at 11.30 at the Aldershot Crematorium (GU12 4BP) All welcome to attend but could you please send a message so that Fiona has an idea of numbers.

Ann and Gwyn Roberts


Derek Dragonetti
1939-2023

It is with sad heart that I write this for those who can remember a little Scottish guy by the name of Derek Dragonetti who passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer.  I am sure he will be remembered for his somewhat wicked sense of humour but maybe more for his stubbornness. He was a small guy with a big heart.

He was a large part of agility many years ago and enjoyed his visits to the Lune show each year. When my world fell apart, both he and Rena were there for me and I have been there for him.

Having lost his first wife  Rena, Derek married Pauline and moved to the Burneside in the Lake District and where they has lived for the past 11 years. 

On a personal note, he was a great support to me and my daughter. I had the privilege of him giving me away at my wedding last year.

The funeral will take place on 19th October at 11am at Beethams Crematrium (LA7 7BQ. After the service, there will be a wake at Crooklands Hotel (LA7 7NW).

If you are looking to attend, please contact Deborah Kenny so she can pass the numbers on to Pauline.

Deborah Kenny


Jane Furlong
Died 20th September 2023

This is a p post I always hoped I would never have to write. Our lovely brave, amazing Jane lost her fight yesterday. I really don't know what to say and really don't want to believe it. Always hoping that she would be back with Bertie to carry on her training. I was just keeping him ticking over until that day came.

Rest easy, Jane. We love you.

The funeral of Jane Furlong will be held on Friday, 27th October at 2pm at Worthing Crematorium, followed after at The Black Horse Inn Findon for a celebration of life.

May we kindly ask that flowers are from family only. Donations in memory of Jane may be made to St. Peter & St. James Hospice, Burgess Hill. No dress code requests but a touch of colour would be nice

Ashley Carter



Dave Ray
Died 2nd September 2023

Having spent the last week in Rugby hospital by Daveís side, Iím very sad to say he passed away peacefully this afternoon.

Thank you to my friends for all their support at this heartbreaking time. I couldnít have coped without you .

Together for 49 years, married for 45. Sleep well my soul mate.

Mary Ray

Funeral arrangements
Dave Ray's funeral will be Thursday, 28th September at 12 noon at the Rainsbrook Crematorum, Ashlawn Road, Rugby CV22 5QQ. To gain an idea of numbers and make arrangements for the wake, please contact Bev Hotson, Mary Ray or Skate Smith-Moore via FB.

Steve Croxford
I have just heard the sad news that Dave Ray has passed away. My condolences to Mary Ray and the family. Dave was an inspiration to me and his contribution to the sport of Agility was immense both here and in other countries. Itís hard to believe another of our Agility pioneers has gone.

Pauline Barr
There's one more bright star in the sky tonight, so sad that Dave Ray passed away peacefully this afternoon with his beloved wife Mary beside him. I had the privilege of working for him, I only went to help him out for a couple of weeks in the run up to Olympia and ended up staying for a few years! As I worked from Dave's home office it meant that we had to get on or it wouldn't have worked and we did get on really well and used to have quite a few laughs. He used to make me nice cups of coffee and I used to take round the occasional lemon drizzle cake which he loved. He worked so hard and did so much for the different KC dog disciplines - obedience, agility and heelwork to music. He was such a good organiser, just brilliant at running events and his barbecues and roast dinners for the helpers were legendary. He loved the dogs and was very proud and supportive of Mary's many achievements, they were a great team together. Sleep well boss.

Lesley Olden
Such sad news.. Iím in tears. Iíve just heard that Dave Ray has passed away.
Dave was instrumental in making agility what it is today, and we all have so much to thank him for. He was Mr Pedigree Chum ĎOlympiaí and Crufts, sat on many KC committees for so many disciplines and always up for fun and a joke.

Amanda Luttman
When you step on the line tomorrow to run your dog, remember Dave Ray. Some may not know him or have even ever heard of him if youíre new to agility. But for so many years Dave was a pioneer of our sport along with others. He is most definitely Mr Olympia. So many great memories of being at events like Olympia, Crufts and Discover dogs with Dave. Both as a competitor and working with him. He was a fantastic guy. A legend of agility. He is another of those where we can safely say agility would not be what it is today without him.

Jacky Carter
Very, very sad to hear the dog world has lost Dave Ray. Iíve many happy memories chatting at shows. Dave was just the nicest person, and did a massive amount to make agility what itís become today. He was heavily involved with obedience, agility, HTM, Olympia, Crufts, Discover Dogs, national finals, club events, the list goes on and on. He even hosted his own dog/game show. Although it is a while since I competed, I feel lucky to have known him as a friend. The dog competition world is a better place because of Dave. Thereíll be a lot of collies, plus a few lurcher/whippets, waiting for him at the bridge.

Elaine Auty
I find myself reflecting on what agility was way back when! The very sad passing of Dave Ray has me feeling very thankful that Brian and I got to experience the amazing buzz qualifying for Olympia and Crufts was under the helm of Dave. Getting that phone call saying we were off to Stoneligh was so ver special and the times we spent there over the years was simply amazing.

Greg Derrett
A sad day for Agility with the passing of Dave Ray. I feel lucky to have grown up and spent my top competitive years in a sport that Dave ran in the UK. Most of my most memorable moments in agility, Dave was the man behind the event and he made them truly special. Whatever todays handlers say, British agility when Dave was at the helm was at its best. He set the standard on how agility events should be run and was by far the most influential person to me and the inspiration for how I try to run events today.



Keran Breslin
Died 17th August 2023

So sorry to learn this morning of the untimely death of Kieran Breslin, the 'Man from Donegal.'.

I knew him as a sensitive and generous man, a true gentleman. I loved watching him in recent years as he developed his skills in dog agility. He got so much enjoyment out of it.

He will be missed by many of us and particularly by his training friends in Donegal.

RIP.

Ronnie McAleese



Teresa Jones
Died 6th July 2023

For those who know Teresa Jones, I'm sad to let you know that she passed away on 6th July. She fought so hard for such a long time.

She started out in agility over 20 years ago. She loved agility and trained at Ewell and Scrambles with her dogs - Ellie and Lexie - competed in many shows in the South East of England until ill health meant she was no longer able to.

Teresa was a lovely person - good humoured and positive - and will be much missed by those who knew her.

Hazel Fletcher


 
Jayne Fuller
Died 3rd June 2023

As some of you may know, our darling Jane lost her battle with cancer on 3rd June 2023.#

Those of you wishing to celebrate her life are invited to Breckland Crematorium, Norwich Road, Norwich NR9 4NR. The ceremony will be 22nd June, starting at 2 o'clock. After, everyone is invited to raise a glass, share memories and stories at the Railway Tavern, 21 Yaxham Road, Dereham, NR19 1HB. which was one of Jayne's favourite places for a gin or two.

As a family, we request no flowers, but anyone wishing to make a contribution can donate to Priscilla Bacon Lodge where Jayney spent her last week with fantastic care. Cheques should be made out to Priscilla Bacon Norfolk Hospice Care Ltd. Please write Jayne Fuller on the reverse of the cheque. Donations can be made online, too.

As a family, we have appreciated all your kind words and tributes.

Sophie Marie Fuller


Graham Taylor

Graham Taylor passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, 21st May after weekend of his beloved agility - probably the way he would have wanted to go.

He had so much enthusiasm for the agility game. Way back in the 80s he organised great fun competitions such as Barbour Pairs, Clockwatcher and Jump and Drive with finals at the Royal Show.

My dad's funeral will take place at 1pm at Oakleigh Wood Crematorium, CV33 9QP on Thursday, 22nd June. The wake venue is yet to be decided but if you wish to attend we would be grateful if you could follow the link https://forms.gle/rnvMnttnYoqvoS9p9 .

Dad was always putting on a great spread, and we wish to ensure this is the same at his celebration. Please no black and charity to be announced. Thank you to everyone for cards, texts and phone calls.

Luke Taylor



Gail Beasley
1947 - 2023

Gail Beasley passed away on 14th March 2023 after a short illness, aged 75. Lots of people will remember her from Bitz 'n' Bobz, Pawsome and Agility Vision shows.

She was a wonderful woman who will be missed.

The funeral service will take place at Countesthorpe Crematorium on Tuesday, 11th April. Family flower only. Donations may be made in memory of Gail to Cancer Research UK and Border Collie Trust.

Eileen Wischnia on FB


  
Remembering Ron Oliver
Died March 2023

When he he did his National Service, Ron was a boxer but in civilian life, he was a builder, a very good one. Once he discovered agility he certainly loved it and his dogs.

On  my first visit to his house, I couldn't believe what I saw. It was plastered in rosettes and trophies from his many years competing.

Ron spent every available weekend at a show somewhere in the country. One of his favourite shows was Beachside in Norfolk and, of course, Redhill where he would get spoilt and looked after by Lisa in the Club.

He was rarely seen without a pint of Guinness in hand, and many an evening we would watch him stagger back to his caravan.

We were very happy to throw Ron an 80th birthday party at Redhill. Lisa got him a cake in the shape of a pint, and he partied the night away only to get up early and do several laps of the venue to keep himself fit.

As Ron and the dogs got older, the big shows and fancy new entry methods got too much for him. Jumping Jacks was his final show before he was forced to retire with arthritic knees.

I hope you took your blue vest with you.

Rest in peace, Ron.

Kate Theobald


 

 

 Tribute to DDD Dave Roberts
1951- 2023

The agility community will never be the same without Dave. It is truly the end of an era.

We met Dave around 1999 when Lucy took our BC Jess for training at our local club. Dave was also starting agility with his staffie Sophie. He soon became part of our family and a good friend.

It was Dave who encouraged us to join him in running an agility show in 2007 to celebrate 30 years of agility. It was our first show and it was a huge success with the surviving founders attending and a great sponsorship from the American Kennel Club (AKC.) It was even more special as agility was founded in Lincoln. Following the success of our first show together, Lincoln Agility Enthusiasts (LAE) was born. Dave has been a big part of it from the beginning even though organisation was never his forte.

He was well known on the circuit for his quizzes and always helping on the rings and maintaining an orderly queue. When he wasn't helping, he was filming his staffies running and whizzing around on his scooter.

Dave's first job was as a Red Coat at Butlin's, and he had plenty of tales to tell, many less than PC. After leaving Butlin's, he found his passion for music and became a DJ. He played a large part of putting Lincoln on the club scene. As you can imagine, this stories got even less PC.

He loved BMXX riding, and still holds the world record for Bull RIding as seen in Roy Castle's Record Breakers. The passion for riding was strong Dave's family as his sons went on to be avid horse riders. Paul led a hunt, and James became a Master of Parelis, something Dave was always very proud of.

Dave was a true entertainer. He knew lots of the rich and famous and made many life-long friends along the way. One of his favourites was The Detroit Emeralds with whom he toured when they visited the UK.

Dave was one of a kind. He had time for everyone especially if you liked staffies, music or football. He loved people and had a heart of gold. He was a true legend.

His dogs have found the perfect homes as would have been his wish. Bernie has a wonderful forever family, and Kelly is staying with Dave's sister where she can retire happily.

Here is the link for Dave's funeral with all the information. Everyone is welcome to the wake to celebrate hisd life and share a story or two. The collection had to involve staffies and Dave always thought highly of the Air Ambulance, so those are the charities in we will be donating towards.#

Always in our thoughts, Dave.

Cindy Osborne


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