It seems impossible to believe that over 60 years have passed since I saw a notice in the dog papers of an inaugural meeting of the proposed "Bristol Collie Club". I was surprised when I entered the little back room of the Railway Hotel to find some fifteen or sixteen people assembled there. Some of them had travelled long distances to get there, others unable to make it in those days of difficult travel, had written letters of support.

 

It was agreed there and then to try and form a Club to be named the Bristol Collie Club and seek sponsorship from the only two* collie clubs in existence. the British and Collie Association.  The other requirement of the KC was that 25 founder members should put down £2.00 each to be banked for the future of the club. This proved more difficult. The average weekly industrial wage was £3.00 a week. The agricultural wage about £2.00 a week. Women earned considerably less [as they still do]. My wage in the women's land army was just over £1.00 per week for 48 hours. My future husband earned just 50p per week, for being shot at nightly in a Lancaster bomber flying over Germany, still this went up if you were lucky enough to reach the age of 21, which many did not. But now the war was over and a new spirit of optimism and hope for the future pervaded in that dingy room. Somehow the money was found and a few months later the British Collie Club agreed to sponsor us, provided we changed the name which had the same initials as theirs. All this took time and it was two years later in 1949 that the KC finally recognised "The West of England Collie Society", [Now often referred to as WECS].

 

Mr Finlay from Paignton, who had put the original notice in the dog paper was elected Secretary, Mr Armitage of Downend, Bristol was made Chairman and Mr Fred Dawes who owned an egg packing factory in Fishponds was made President.  By the time we ran our first show I had taken over the secretary ship and none of us having had any experience in running show, approached our first Open show with some trepidation. We knew that any venue had to be within walking distance of a Railway Station and the Bristol Cattle Market, adjacent to Temple Meads was chosen as our first show. We had chosen a prestigious judge in Ada Bishop and she had drawn an entry of 66 which was both Roughs and Smooth's [One and the same breed in those days], as Chows still are today.

 

We have really lost a link with history when we recently lost this daughter of the legendary W.W.Stansfield and his World influential Launds.

Hazel Hunt

 

The West of England Collie Society’s first show held at the Bristol Cattle Market, which took place in the autumn of 1949,  introduced five new trophies, all solid silver at the insistence of 
the club’s first Chairman Mr Armitage.

At the Society’s first Championship Show in September 1956, the judge  Mr S. A. Martin ‘Sylvestrel’ gave Mr Frank Mitchell a day to  remember with three bitches in the challenge, including  Sceptre of Glenmist, winning from puppy, with the dog  ticket going to Lancelot of Overmist, both winning  their only Challenge Certificate on the day.

Championship status was withdrawn for the  following year, but returned in 1959 for a three  year run before the Society once again  reverted to Open Show status, until  Championship status finally returned  for an almost thirty year run in 1969.

The West of England Collie Society’s current aims and objective shall be:

To promote the breeding and exhibition of the pedigree Collie – Rough and Smooth.

To help and encourage the novice and small breeder.

To do all possible to further the progress of the breed as a whole.