Brian Passmore

The first time that I met Brian must have been when the Dutch Cavy Club’s Annual Stock Show was held at Guildford Town Show. That was in September 1970 when the DCC AGM there agreed to allow area shows on the condition that they could not be held when the Annual Stock Show was being held in that area. It must have been shortly after that resolution that Brian decided to emulate Margaret Elward with her Southern Area Shows and make similar arrangements for the South West.

Brian continued as South West Area Secretary promoting Dutch in the South West as much as he could until he developed an allergy to hay and the dust that it creates. This meant that he had to transfer his “Trevarno” stud of Red Dutch to local fancier, John Stuthridge. He continued with Brian’s stock for some time and I can recall acquiring a very nice sow from him after a stock show held at the Devon County Show. Also, I understand that it was he that that supplied Amy Heale with her first Red Dutch. Consequently, it is not surprising that I liked her pigs sufficiently to give Amy her first Best Dutch award at a DCC event with her good boar, Oscar. That was as an intermediate at a 2001 South West Area Show and he later became a Double Champion; proof indeed on the quality of the Passmore line.

Of course, Brian’s contribution to the Dutch Cavy Club was not just as S.W Area Secretary. In addition, it was Brian that organised the first newsletters for the Club and these spanned the late 1980s and early 1990s until I suspect he had difficulties with his local printing contact.  These now continue with our current secretary doing a great job thanks to modern technology.

Because of his health issues Brian could no longer remain on the DCC judging panel and he was a great advocate of the fact that only breeder judges should be considered to officiate at our Annual Stock Show. He did remain on the committee for a while and later was rewarded with the vice presidency of the Club; something that he enjoyed with Jonathan Billing, Brian Emmett and later Kim Holmes for several years.

In his working life, Brian was involved with the Inland Revenue and H.M Inspector of Taxes although I’ve no idea what he actually did. On retirement, he took an active role in animal welfare and used to travel around Cornwall as an RSPCA official.  As regards hobbies, the cavies were replaced by cacti and I believe it was epiphyllums that were his special interest. Additionally, he enjoyed walking the Cornish countryside and coastline with his wife, Julie.

Sadly, Brian died from cancer on 2nd September 2016 and my condolences go to his wife and family.




The Real London Show 2016.

Another great show, another great entry with 972 cavies entered plus, of course, a great supporting cast in the form of mice, hamsters and gerbils. More on these later as I know that there is a wish within the show hierarchy for this to be, not just a cavy show, but a great annual small livestock exhibition. It certainly was.

This year, Brian Emmett was the Show President; an honour to add to a great list of achievements throughout his long association with not only cavies but also mice and fancy pigeons. I was sorry to learn that he had suffered a heavy fall the following day and was rather sore down one side. Luckily no bones were broken but it was not the best start to his two year term as President.

The reputation of the Show is now firmly established with exhibitors present from far and wide although a few more northern fanciers would be welcome. Others came from abroad and even over the border from Scotland as Pam Gardner and husband John were two of the first fanciers to catch my eye and were busy attending to the dietary needs of their entries. I can’t confirm the complete list of the ingredients in their cavy veggie mix but carrots and beetroot were busily being chopped up to add to the green content of a large container. When their pigs are away at a show, Pam ensures that the stresses of a journey are minimised and they enjoy as much of their home comforts as possible. All this effort was rewarded with their stud (Tickety-Boo) doing very well in the National Agouti CC classes achieving Best of Colour in Cinnamon, Chocolate and Cream. That in the specialist show that attracted 77 entries.

Of course, I was interested in the Dutch Cavy Club’s Southern Area Show that attracted a slightly better entry this year of 35 Dutch with all colours bar Lilac being shown. The absence of Lilac Dutch is not surprising and I can’t recall seeing any for several years. A Chocolate sow shown by Luke Holmes took top honours and I was told that this was the same pig that won Best Dutch at the South West Area Show last year if in different ownership as it seems we have lost Annie Smith (Purnell’s Cavies) as an exhibitor. Thankfully, she best did not end up in a pet shop but were taken over by Luke.

I’m not exactly sure of the final line up behind Luke’s sow but in the mix in second or third place was a Red Sow (Best of Colour) shown by Sarah Bennett. The name didn’t ring familiar at first and I wasn’t the only one to wonder who this newcomer was that was doing so well? However, the penny soon dropped as this was the newly married name of Sarah nee Stribley. Well down Sarah and well done also to Kevin Hopkins who took Best Boar and 4th in the Grand Challenge with a promising 5/8 months Red. Good to see a small breeder with only a handful of pigs doing well.

Cream Dutch were the subject of some conversation with the shade of colour being discussed. At this point in time, a great deal of latitude is acceptable and dark Creams (Buffs) can be shown in these classes without problem. The prospect of Buff being considered as a separate colour in the future was discussed and such changes could be afoot in time. In view of this past practice, a Buff/Cream class might be better than separate classes but all this is simply conjecture at the moment. A talking point with the Adult Cream class being won by Kaye Thomas with a better marked, darker pig.

As usual, there was indeed a plethora of specialist stock shows being held at this venue and I can’t report much on most of them. However, from snippets of information gleaned from various conversations, I discovered that Diane Nunn did very well with a Silver Agouti in the NACC Show, Ken & Joan Phillips triumphed with their Tort/White sow in a stock show that attracted 17 T/Ws and Tony & Gill Cooke did plenty of winning in the Nat Fox & Tan CC classes. The latter seem to be undergoing something of a dip in entries at the moment and this is surprising as I have always considered them an attractive proposition, usually exhibiting good type and worthy of support. Outside considerations like work, finance and family matters can, of course, affect things however keen one may be on a hobby but I hope the lost stalwarts of yesterday will soon be able to return. A few more Tans, Foxes and Otters could be just what is needed to achieve the desired 1,000 entry mark.

The display of club stands is worthy of comment as they do look good with modern technology and photographic abilities certainly making the difference here. Steve Davies and Amy Heale have produced two fantastic displays for their respective clubs; NACC and DCC notwithstanding some questionable mug shots! The Southern Cavy Club offers the visitors plenty of interesting and attractive items for purchase all cavy-orientated and something to keep as a reminder of the day. I haven’t looked at their website but, apparently, it is worthy of a viewing.

Just inside the entrance door was the Dalmation & Roan CC stand that proved a good meeting point for several long standing fanciers with Fred Holmes at the helm holding court.  It’s great to see you again Fred. Nearby was the Nat. Fox & Tan CC stand with a good display of the colours available followed by a combined National and English Self effort.  I fear that I may have overlooked the NTWCC and Rex CC offerings as I’m sure they normally have a presence as a point of contact for members.

As previously mentioned, this is more than just the best and biggest cavy show in the land as it is intended to also be something of a small livestock extravaganza welcoming mice, hamsters and gerbils to the event. Smallest of the three was the Gerbil Section with 33 exhibits on show. However, the pleasing issue was that all six species of gerbil were on show and it was good to see the Jackie Roswell (known to me as a cavy fancier too) was successful taking Best Gerbil with a Argente Pied adult female.

The Hamster Section is comprised of just two types; Syrian and Dwarf with each attracting an entry of around 50 exhibits. Show Manager, Catherine Miles was most helpful, willingly wanting to promote her section with others. Best Dwarf and overall Best in Show went to Wellington Hamstery (Melissa Chamberlain) whilst Best Syrian went to Miles to Go Hamstery (Chris Miles) – Congratulations Mum.

The biggest of these three sections proved to be the Mouse Section and much of the credit here must go to the Mouse Secretary, Peter Hogg (in his second year at the helm I believe). The Annual Cup Show normally has an adverse affect on the entry at this show but this year things were different as a total of 164 mice had been entered. Phil Hall took BIS with a Black Tan but Opposite Age winner was still being decided whilst I was visiting although I understood that it was likely to be an Ivory Satin. Next year the Annual Cup Show will be in Manchester but what for 2018? Could it be here with an even greater entry?

The climax of the Cavy Show was the final line up for Best Cavy with Andrew Sparkes doing the honours this year. All six in the line up receive prize money but, obviously, with the amount received diminishing as you get further down the line. The winner was a most impressive adult Alpaca shown by Malaxis Stud from Sweden and, even as a bystander without a great interest in long hairs, I could see that this was a worthy winner and an outstanding example of the breed. Full details of the result are given below: -

1st: Malaxis Stud(Sweden) Adult Alpaca.

2nd: Cranwell Cavies 5/8 months Self D.E. Cream.

3rd: Heale & Davies U/5 months Self Black.

4th: Heale & Davies Adult Lemon Agouti

5th: Malaxis Stud (Sweden) U/5 months Alpaca.

6th: Heale & Davies U/5 months Silver Agouti.

Oh and I shouldn’t forget that the Super Pet award went to Jacqui Nicholson with her attractive and well shown pet. I’ve had something of a personal side issue here recently as we need to ensure that our pigs more inviting and acceptable as a child’s pet within a school project. On this matter, what should I recommend?

Finally, (and very much not least), there needs to be an honours list for all the workers and helpers that make this show the great success that it continues to be. (Trivia Question: How many times have I mentioned “great” in this offering?)  In addition to the main players such as Ian, Tony, Pete, Nikki, Peter not to mention all that Val Lewis-Smith ably assisted by Catriona and other card writers do, there is the Pet Sales “staff” of Kathryn Roles and Heather Stone to be considered. That’s not all of course as Liz Miles & Co are in charge of the  judges’ lunches and refreshment side of things and Mary and Brendan Jaffa also have a have a hand in matters.  Hopefully, I haven’t forgotten anyone that is integral in the workings of this great event. If so, my apologies.

As a closing comment, thanks to all the fetch & carry stewards that were rewarded with a special raffle draw. A nice thought and perhaps I, along with others, could do more in this regard. I only stewarded one pig!