Chuffed with Crufts ...

Salisbury Journal: Denise Hewitt with her English Setter Tilly. Denise Hewitt with her English Setter Tilly.

A NAUGHTY two-year-old English Setter from Fordingbridge who bit through a hot tub cable and wrecked her owners’ garden came first place in the Postgraduate category at this year’s Crufts.

Denise Hewitt and her daughter Diane were “amazed” when Tilly was awarded the title at the show, held in Birmingham.

Diane said: “When she was a pup, she was very naughty, chewing through wires, including a hot tub cable, getting into fish ponds and wrecking gardens, but she did exceptionally well at Crufts and we are delighted. Mum and I could not believe how well she did.

“Tilly is just full of life and character and we love her.”

Dog owners and breeders from Ringwood, Fordingbridge and Verwood won a clutch of awards at the annual dog-fest.

Highest placed was Elaine Roberts from Bransgore, whose Gordon Setter Magic scooped the Reserve Bitch Challenge certificate.

Kim Parris of Ashley Heath took home several titles at the show in Birmingham, with her three gundogs Cully, Sorcha and pup Bentley.

Mrs Parris’s four-year-old working dog Cully won first place as Best Bitch, Sorcha, seven, won Best Veteran Bitch and Bentley, ten months, was awarded second place in the Special Puppy category.

“I had an exceptional day,” said Mrs Parris, who has been showing her Bracco Italiano breed for the past 11 years.

“Cully is my own working dog and Sorcha is Bentley's mum. I exercise my dogs in the Forest, which is a very dog-friendly area with a good bunch of friendly people.”

And another delighted Ringwood breeder, Jean Sharp-Bale, came first place with her 14-month-old Keeshond Berry in the Special Junior Bitch category and fourth place with Keeshonds Digby and Coco in the Open Dog and Open Bitch categories.

Mrs Sharp-Bale, who has been showing her breed at Crufts for the last 35 years, said: “Keeshonds are rather wicked but they make wonderful companions and they love people and not kennels. Berry is naughty but she behaved beautifully in the ring.

“It is a very tiring day but a very satisfactory and social one. We get to see all our friends from abroad and across the country, it is really rather special and I love it.”

David Winsley from Ringwood, who breeds Sealyham terriers, won second place in the Limit category with terrier Spice, who belonged to the late Tom Scott, a member of the Animal Health Trust.

Mr Winsley said: “I showed Spice at the show and was delighted she did so well. I have clipped and trimmed her when Mr Scott, who used to live in Jersey, would bring her to me in his private plane.

“It was very sad when he died last year, but he gave me Spice to look after. She is from the Polrose breed, which is very rare and my partner and I are continuing the Polrose line.”

Fordingbridge Basset Griffon Vendeen owner Nikki Francis came second in the Special Puppy section with Win, and she and mum Jane Denny came first in the Junior Section with Hero. Mrs Denny also took one of her beagles, Adelaide, and she was placed fourth in the Special Puppy Class.

And Ringwood owner Jill Thew came second in the Veteran Bitch section with her Burmese Mountain Dog.

More than 20,000 animals and 145,000 people descended on Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre for the annual show.

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