We have owned English Setters since 1971.
Our first sighting of an English Setter was at a country fair near Boston Lincolnshire – there was this beautiful Blue Belton bitch and asking the owner what breed she was she announced an English Setter – the owner was in fact Doreen Killick of Dorrolidge English Setters. We were invited back to her home to see the other dogs but at that time no puppies were available.
From then on our search was on to find a puppy – advertised in the Dog Paper was a litter at Letchworth owned by Fred and Jean Neal their prefix being Weatherdair. They had two Orange Belton dog puppies (Suntop Breeding) left so we went to see them and came away with “Jaffa” Weatherdair Hurricane – Fred and Jean told us all about the showing of their dogs and we were hooked!
With this information we reared Jaffa as carefully as we could and practiced teaching him to stand. We were so proud of him. At the age of six months we entered him for his first show, which was the Isle of Ely Canine Show.
I gave Jaffa a bath and fluffed his coat up beautifully and went to a local match meeting. He did win through two rounds under the judge Mrs Ogden – afterwards she took me to one side and said he is a nice specimen but do you realize this breed needs to be trimmed to show off their finer points. She explained as best she could and once home I had a go.
We became quite enthusiastic about showing and speaking to Jaffa’s breeder it was suggested that we took him to The English Setter Association Championship Show - a Mr Joe Braddon was judging. Just before the show we took Jaffa to Kings Lynn shopping and whilst walking past Dezyner Dogs Trevor Flat saw us and called us in. Trevor and his wife Carole also thought Jaffa was a really nice specimen and kindly offered to trim and bath him for us before we went to his first Championship Show. I learnt a lot from watching Carol and he looked stunning. Not being an experienced handler, I unfortunately made a mess of doing the moving – I took Jaffa the wrong way round the triangle which did not impress the judge – he shouted me back and told me how to move and made me do it over and over and over again - I finally got the idea!
In order to learn skills in preparing the Setter for the show ring I watched numerous well-known exhibitors such as Lesley Allen-Scott. Jaffa went on to win 2 Challenge Certificates and many other top awards.
We did purchase a bitch from Dorrolidge and our first litter produced for us a lovely dog Aureole of Valsett and he too went on to win 2 C.Cs.
We then made the decision to go back to the Weatherdair Kennel and purchased a Blue Belton bitch called Weatherdair Lucinda (Sh.Ch.Elswood Ashpenda Moonquest x Suntop Bellbird). Lucy was our all important foundation bitch. Although not shown a great deal due to phantom pregnancies, she had a successful Puppy Career and was a consistent winner, gaining a Res C.C.
Two very important descendants from her were: - Sh Ch Sunlight of Valsett and Sh Ch Valsett Arrominta – these having produced a succession of Show Champions and winners for us and other kennels both here and abroad - including our Infamous - Sh Ch Starlite Express of Valsett “BONNIE”.
We have now been fortunate in purchasing a dog puppy from the Wansleydale kennel - Wansleydale Rowanberry who goes back to one of our past bitches successfully campaigned by Linda Taylor Sh Ch Valsett Video Star of Wansleydale
Hopefully he will prove a great asset to our breeding programme by re-introducing our foundation lines yet again.