It is with great sadness that the officers and committee of Birmingham Dog Show Society Ltd (The National Dog Show) learned of the death of our President, Meriel Hathaway. Her family are in our thoughts at this sad time.
Meriel’s formal involvement with Birmingham Dog Show Society Ltd started in 1985. In her role as Midland’s Regional Organiser for the Kennel Club Junior Organisation (KCJO) she supervised the inaugural rally of the KCJO which involved Agility and Junior Showmanship.
She always championed the involvement of younger people in our sport and was very proud of ‘her’ Young Kennel Club members and played a vital role in coaching them and encouraging their personal development. Rebecca Barber, Jenny Shorer-Wheeler and Jenny Fairhall, all former Young Kennel Club members, are now key members of the Society’s Management Committee and have important roles at the show.
Invited to join the Management Committee in November 1991. Her passion for education lead to her ‘stage managing’ a memorable training course for judges and stewards in 1995 which was attended by over 100 people.
Meriel was a member of the Birmingham Dog Show Society’s Judges Selection Committee for over 20 years. She was proud of the Society’s integrity when selecting judges from nominations received from the entire Management Committee; irrespective of Breed or Group. Her knowledge of Judges (particularly Breed Specialists) in every Group was unrivalled; a demonstration of the interest she showed across the entire canine world.
Her wealth of knowledge and experience gained through her involvement with the KCJO, Breed Clubs, Open Show Societies and of course the National, played a vital role in the Show Planning Sub-Committee. She managed the hospitality for the show with military planning and precision for exhibitors and judges alike.
She was appointed as a Director in 2006 and was justifiably invited to be President at the AGM in July 2011. Always adamant that the Society should never lose its focus on ‘Exhibitors and their Dogs’ and she ensured that was the focus at all Committee Meetings.
Despite her illness, Meriel continued to have the interest of the Birmingham National Dog Show uppermost in her mind. She was very involved in the planning for the 2015 Show and in the realisation that she would probably not be here to attend it, that the she made sure that every member of the Committee was aware of how she did things to ensure the smooth running of the show. Every member of the Committee will be doing their utmost to ensure that Meriel’s very high standards are maintained at the 2015 show and those that follow in the years to come.
Such was her forward planning that Meriel spent time wrapping and labelling some of the breed books that she had accumulated over the years to be presented to some of the Best of Breed winners at the 2015 Show. The Officers and Committee do hope that the love and care Meriel took in selecting these books for Best of Breed winners will be appreciated by the lucky recipients at our show.
Meriel’s efficiency, integrity, wealth of knowledge of our sport and genuine interest in exhibitors and their dogs can never be replaced. We extremely fortunate to have had Meriel serving on our Committee, working for the Society and the world of dogs with such dedication. Meriel, will be very sadly missed by the Society and she will be an incredibly hard act to follow.