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Secretary Hilary Kerr

The History of the Midlands Border Collie Club

The following has been adapted from the article kindly written by Barbara Swann & first published in the Summer 2005 issue of the Border Heartbeat.

In order to try to improve your Border Heartbeat service, twas decided that the whole committee would get involved, but I’m not sure why I got the hardest part – is it because I’m so old? No Barbara, it's because you were there in the beginning! [Sec.]

Long ago, well before 1992, a few Border Collie enthusiasts (such as Bruce and Sheena Kilsby, Mr and Mrs Ruston, Mr and Mrs Barkway, Malcolm and Jane Cresswell, Derek and Maureen Briddon, Pat and Tracey Wilkinson, Doreen Hutchinson, Bob and Alison Tunnicliff, Val Earp, Ann and Pete Stacey, Tracey Mills, Karen Bugg and Barbara Swann) met several times as a group, in the West Midlands, and decided to form a Club. The Border Collie Club of Great Britain suggested that we join them as the Midlands Branch of the BCC GB, which we did and were with them for some years.

22nd March 1992: Our inaugural meeting was held and we decided we’d be called The Heart of England Border Collie Club. Now, given our base, you’d think that it was a perfect name, but not the Kennel Club. They would not let us have that name so eventually, after a long fight with the KC (who always win) who claimed that we weren’t in the Heart of England – albeit our events then were all within 10 miles of the acclaimed official centre of England, Meriden - we became the Midlands Border Collie Club.

At this meeting there were 15 people present. Doreen Hutchinson was Chairman, I was Secretary and Malcolm Cresswell was Treasurer. Of those original 15, only Doreen, Bob Tunnicliff and I are still active within our Club.

The Utility Certificate was discussed and the procedure started to activate it......because even on that first day it was decided that we’d be multi disciplined and 22 years on we still are and even expanding this aspect.

During '92 it was decided that we’d have a Club Badge. 2 versions were struck, the present one with the red background and one with a green background. The green version was given to founder members and only the exact number required were ever produced, making it special and those with the green badges are very proud to wear them.

The first plans to run an Open Show with Obedience were formulated in '92.

2nd December 1992: The Kennel Club decided that we’d have our present name and our first AGM as a Registered Club was 24th January 1993 when, would you believe it, the Border Heartbeat was born. Prior to this we had produced a simple duplicated newsletter/magazine called Collie Capers. Karen Bugg was our Border Heartbeat Editor for quite some long time.

22nd April 1993: The Utility Certificate was agreed and rules formulated. Only a couple of things have been amended since then.

Bob Tunnicliff joined the committee in ’93 and our internal (committee) rules were formulated. These govern committee procedure and other areas which allow us to keep things running smoothly.

Between '92 and '94 our first Utility Day was organised and run at Moreton Morrell Agricultural College and sometime during ’94 Ann Amos (now Ann Jordan) joined the committee. Our base at that time was Cosby, Leicestershire, and Bob Tunnicliff became Vice–Chairman.

6th August 1994: Our Beginners CD was devised - somewhat different to that of the KC - and a special licence was granted by the KC to run the event at Moreton Morrell.

Bob Tunnicliff became Chairman in '95 and the MBCC began to be active in the BC Breed Council by proposing to the KC that there be a Special Working Class at CRUFTS.

1996 saw our first Open Obedience Show (with Val Earp as our Obedience Secretary), hotly pursued in '97 by our first 'proper' CD.

At the forefront again, our '97 AGM was followed by a demonstration of Heelwork To Music and a competition – possibly the first in Great Britain - with several of our committee members taking part. Doreen Hutchinson became President, taking over from Pat Wilkinson who decided that she needed a break from committee life. We purchased our trailer and our now retired 'Market Stall' (we have recently updated 'accommodation' for our shop and tombola).

Rarely do we ever go back on any rule or procedure we bring into force, so no one thought that when a Code of Ethics was formulated in '98 that it would be squashed at the AGM of '99. Mind you, we (that is all persons and clubs) were obliged to comply with the KC’s Code of Ethics.

5 new life members were created in 1998.

Marie Jordan, Jan Brearley and Sheilagh Hyde joined the committee and became heavily involved with our Obedience and through their skill and knowledge have steered it to the huge event that is has now become.

So we are just about up to date.......I retired from my role as Secretary on 28th May 2002 and Lyn took over and I became Vice-President at the '03 AGM.

There are a couple of ladies who have, so far, not been mentioned - Chris Johnson and Joan Cattell who joined the committee in 1993. Chris is our Treasurer, taking over from Malcolm when he retired from the committee and Joan is our Catering Supremo. Both ladies have talents in many other areas too and are always at events helping out whenever they can.

Tony Blick is another of our committee and has taken on many and varied roles including keeping our Secretary under control. Yeah, right. Who told you that? [Sec.]

Early 2003: Rescue in Border Collies, and who receives the considerable sums we raise, began to come to a head and we took the decision to support Border Collie & Sheep Dog Rescue (run by Sonya Saxby) as a Rescue organisation of preference.

I have yet to mention Barrie James who, for a number of years now, has been our Working Trials Manager. Barrie finds the land and organises the running of each event.

Quick Fact File:

Why is red 'our' colour? The reason is because red and heart go together so red was selected to remind us of our roots. The Heart of England.

Flyball: I am certain that that we were the first club in Great Britain to have Flyball and teach it. Some considerable time before it hit GB, I brought back with me from Canada a Flyball machine – the story of getting this through customs is another tale! – as a present for my ball-crazy top winning sheepdog Nell. Whilst I was in Canada they taught me how to train a dog and so it came to our Utility Days, some 2 or 3 years before the early boxes came into general use. It took about 20 minutes to train a dog from scratch – providing they were keen on catching a ball. Apart from sheep, Nell also adored her Flyball box. The ball line on the early models was totally unpredictable, which made it a great spectator sport.

At one time we had our own Flyball team.

The beginnings of the MBCC was when I put an advert in Dog World for anyone interested in forming a Midlands Club to contact me. Five of us met in a pub somewhere near Birmingham. Amongst the other 4 were Bruce and Sheena.

We had a small flock of sheep for training over in Romsley and even ran a small open sheepdog trial around 1985.

The Club has been and continues to be a great club. Right from the start it was our aim that our Border Collies should lead the way in every field. Throughout our history we have had wonderfully dedicated, talented and motivated folk on the committee to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with newer and younger people joining the committee.

Your current Officers and Committee are listed on the Committee page of this site.

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