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Northern Newfoundland Club of Great Britain
United Kingdom


The Northern Newfoundland Club,
A Brief History

(based on the writings of Brian Kitson)

It was in response to a letter circulated by Mr. Keith Frost and Mrs. Kath Harding in the Autumn of 1984 that a Fifty-three Strong Group of Newfoundland Owners and Breeders gathered at the Scotch Corner Hotel, North Yorkshire on the 24th November that Year, to discuss the Formation of the Northern Newfoundland Club.

As mentioned during the Meeting, this was the Second time in recent years an attempt had been made to establish a northern club. During this discussion Mr. Frank Cassidy reminded those present that despite this earlier attempt failing to gain Kennel Club recognition the Club had never been formally disbanded, although during it's short active life it held several successful events, especially water work.

Following discussion, all present agreed to undertake the re-formation of the northern club with the aim of supplementing the activities of the Newfoundland Club and making these more accessible to the newfoundland owners and breeders in the north of England, Wales and Scotland. A Draft Constitution was formulated and a Steering Committee elected, the Foundation Committee comprised:-

Chairman - Mr. K.S. Frost;
Secretary - Mrs. D.M. MacVicar-Campbell;
Treasurer - Mrs. Fiona Gibson,
Committee Members being -
Mr. F. Cassidy, Cheshire;
Mrs. L. Rhodes, Manchester;
Miss J. Yeoward, Cheshire;
Mrs. R. Blackman - Lincolnshire;
Mr. G. Robertson, Scotland;
Mrs. D. Hanney, North East;
Mrs. J. Corlett, Wirral;
Mr. B. Kitson, Manchester;
Mrs. R. Rushton, Cleveland;
Mr. G. Frost, North East and
Mrs. K. Harding, Yorkshire;

The membership fees being:- Single £5.00p; Joint £7.50p and Junior £2.50p

This Meeting also had the agreement of Mr. D. Gibson to consider the Publication of a Newsletter, the First Edition of which was published at the beginning of 1985 and has been appearing at regular intervals ever since that time, progressively developing into the Newfletter magazine which all Members receive to-day.

The Steering Committee made application to the Kennel Club for Registration and held a successful Seminar for which Mrs Louise Rhodes obtained the services of Dr Gill to speak about basic genetics, inbreeding and colour, this was followed later that same year by a Water Fun Day in Tatton Park, thus commencing the water work side of Club activities.

At the first Annual General Meeting on 19th October 1985 the Membership were Officially informed that the Kennel Club at their General Committee Meeting on 16th October 1985 had added the Northern Newfoundland Club to their Register of Breed Clubs. Thus we were able to approach them for permission to hold Open Shows in addition to the other activities that were in the pipeline. At this Meeting the Members present elected Mr Warwick Winston as the Club's First President.

The Club Membership continued to expand and during March 1986 the Club were pleased to learn that Lord Devonport had agreed to be the Club Patron, the Committee requested Mr. Brian Kitson to meet him with a view to possibly holding a "Water Teach-in" on water in his ownership, following a Meeting with our Patron at his Fishing Hut on the River Tweed the Club obtained permission to hold a Water Day on a Sunday in August every other year and the first one in 1986 proved extremely popular, thus we added another regular event to the Club Calendar. This event has unfortunately had to be dropped from the list of regular events due to organisational difficulties.

During 1986 the Club received by Licence dated 6th May 1986 Kennel Club permission to hold an Open Show, the Judge for this, our First Show was Mr. Tom Cunningham (Estalina) from Ireland with Miss June Yeoward being the Show Manager, it was held at the Aughton Show Centre on the 15th November 1986. Following this small start the Club graduated to holding two Open Shows a year, one with Obedience Classes.

The next stage was to apply to hold a Championship Show, this was granted and on the 28th September 1991 with Canadian Judges - Mrs. J. Mackenzie for Dogs and Mrs. H. Slaughter for Bitches the first championship show took place under the direction of our Show Manager Miss June Yeoward. The Committee worked very hard to make this Championship Show bright and inviting with the Ladies looking after the decorations and the men undertaking the ladder work, it was at this time that the skills of Mr. Mike Sutcliffe came in very handy.

Whilst progress was made on the Show side, the Working side was not neglected with the Committee fully supporting this aspect with the aim of maintaining the true spirit of the Newfoundland and to avoid the danger of producing a dog which would not be fit to Work. In the early days we had a lot of practical help in the loan of a boat and other equipment from long established Breeders like the late Mr. Frank Cassidy of the Littlecreek Kennels.

On 9th April 1989 at a Meeting convened by Mr. Brian Kitson the Northern Newfoundland Club Working Group was formally established and a standing sub-committee appointed. Hard work resulted in rapid progress in developing first the Water Test Regulations and then those for Draft Work.

Part of this hardwork involved a visit to Torcy, near Paris, France where members of the NNC looked at the training methods of the Terre-Neuve Sportif (TNS). That visit combined with their own experience and permission to translate and use the TNS training manual formed the basis from which the tests have since grown.This visit also led the the development of a Water Training Manual which is currently out of date and requiring revision.

The first water tests under the auspices of the NNC took place on 22nd April 1990 at Tatton Park, near Knutsford - Sections A & B only. First dog to enter and pass both A & B was Lisada Midnight Blue (Bella) - Judges Ken Rhodes and Paul Tedder.

On 8th September 1990 at Loch Ken, Castle Douglas, the first dog to attempt Section C was Lizada Midnight Blue (Bella). Judges Gareth Williams and Ken Rhodes. (A problem occurred during the first exercise which affected the dog for the remainder of the test).

The first dogs to pass Section C were Kirimour Dusky Rose (Polly Verity) and Gentletouch A Touch Of Class (Classy) on 20th July 1991 at Keilder Forest. Judges Gareth Williams and David Pound.

The first dog to pass Section D was, Gentletouch Just In Time (Barnie) on 23rd May 1993 at Wellington Country Park, near Reading. Judges Gareth Williams and John Coulding.

First dog to pass Section E was Gentletouch Just In Time (Barnie) on 14th May 1994 at Wellington Country Park, near Reading. Judges Ken Rhodes and Ben Mayhew.

The first Chairman of this Group was Mr. Roger Chesher who was also able to assist with the loan of specialist equipment. The other early Members being Mr. Terry Dunn, Mr. Hedley Foster, Mr. Brian Kitson, Mr. Ken Rhodes, Mr. Paul Tedder, Mr. Gareth Williams and Mrs. Christine Wilson. The success of the working group was such that The Newfoundland Club followed our lead and set up their own Working Group.

The result of this early work by the founding members and their successors is now a full calendar each year which the Committee hope will be of interest either in whole or in part to the club membership and Newfie owners throughout the U.K.

Apart from the Members specifically mentioned above, the Club has received great support from people such as, the late Mrs. Claudia Handley (Fairwater) who was one of the last direct links with the well known Newfoundlands and their breeders of the 1920's and 1930's. It is the aim of the club to carry forward the Breed and our Club into the Twenty-first Century with the same hard work as those Owners and Breeders did from the Nineteenth to the Twentieth Century, in preserving the characteristics so dear to us of our Newfoundlands.

Since the account of the early history was written, the club has continued to grow and now has one Championship and one Open Show with Obedience Classes each year. On the Working aspect of Newfoundlands, there are now four very active Groups. The original Group from Tatton Park now thanks to the efforts of Mr. John and Mrs. Barbara Coulding meets at the Trafford Water Sports Centre (Canis Major) with the remaining Groups being in the Midlands (Barton), South Yorkshire (Rother Valley), and the North East (Catraeth), unfortunately the one in the Lake District temporarily ceased to operate but thanks to the hard work of local Newfoundland owners now continues as Derwent Dippers.

The Tests for Water and Draft Work are held at various venues throughout the year and have grown from a single two day event for all levels of Water Work on the shores of Lake Bala in North Wales, to four two and three day events organised by the working groups throughout the year for water work and draught, with additional days and weekends for Draught Tests.

The Working Group has also takes part in Demonstrations of both Water and Draft Work. Events have included, the Mersey River Festival and the Game Fair at Harewood House near Leeds along with many visits to shows Fetes and Galas throughout the North of England.

Club membership has grown over the years from the original 53 members to, in excess of 1000. With this growth it is now not unusual to see 70 entries at a water test weekend and in excess of 25 Newfies turning up for a training day. There is now something happening every weekend throughout summer and most weekends in winter, be it a Show, Fun Day, Test or training.

Northern Newfoundland Club Championship Show 2006

Northern Newfoundland Club Championship Show 2006

Northern Newfoundland Club Open Show 2005

Northern Newfoundland Club Open Show 2005

Northern Newfoundland Club Open Show 2006

Northern Newfoundland Club Open Show 2005

Shirland Fun Day 2006

Shirland Fun Day 2006

Shirland Fun Day 2006

Shirland Fun Day 2006

Shirland Fun Day 2006

Shirland Fun Day 2006