The Leslie Perrins Memorial
by Sue Harrison
The handsome trophy in memory of Leslie Perrins, which has now been restored.
The base of the trophy now bears an explanation of its restoration and the original winners' name plates from 1963 to 2005.
This trophy is the most prestigious of the Welsh Corgi League annual championship show points awards. Presented at the champion show in May, it is for the top winning Pembroke of the Year, presented in memory of the President, Leslie Perrins, who died in December 1962. The first winner was Mrs V. Palmer-Cummings' tricolour dog, Ch Barngremlin of Braxentra.
Ch. Barngremlin of Braxentra
As the base and engraved name plates had suffered wear and tear, the trophy has recently been restored by Bob Bonner. It now has a mahogany base and extra name plaques for future winners.
The idea for the trophy was put forward by Miss Forsyth-Forrest (Helarian) at the AGM in March 1963 and at Mr Arthur Bridge's suggestion, it was agreed that it should be for the Pembroke of the Year. Donations were invited from members and the sum of £82 16s 9d was raised by November.
Garrards, the London gold and silversmiths, were commissioned to do the design which was accepted by the League executive and approved by the Kennel Club. The trophy was then made in solid silver and mounted on an ebonised wood plinth. The total cost was £89. The copyright remains with the League.
Leslie Perrins was at the inaugural meeting of the Welsh Corgi League in 1938, having purchased his first corgi from MrsThelma Gray (Rozavel) in the mid-1930s. By the mid-40s he was Southern Section secretary, in spite of leading a very busy life with radio, TV and film work.
He was voted on to the executive committee in 1951 and in 1956 was elected President, a role he occupied for the six years until his death aged 61.The obituary written by Thelma Gray quotes, among other virtues, "his dignity, enthusiasm and unassuming charm" - indeed my own personal memory of meeting him was at a League show in the mid-1950s when we as a family, plus dogs, had travelled to London by train and he was at the door greeting all exhibitors with such charm and graciousness.
He was by this time a very well-known actor. Having started in radio, his film career spanned the years 1931-1956 during which time he played alongside many of the great stars of the period. No doubt his untimely death was a big loss to the film industry.
He moved into TV work in 1956, appearing in many of the popular productions of the day including two episodes of Hancock's Half Hour. As clips of these acclaimed shows are broadcast from time to time, it is possible to see Leslie Perrins in action.
Incidentally, one film, A Run For Your Money, made in 1949, also starred - among other big names -- Hugh Griffiths, who was a wonderful character actor. He won an Oscar for best supporting actor in Ben Hur and is at his best in the oft-repeated film The Titfield Thunderbolt. The connection between Leslie Perrins and Hugh Griffiths is that the latter was the husband of Gunda Griffiths, who had the very successful Mabinogi kennels.
Leslie Perrins 1901-1962
Leslie Perrins and his wife Violet had the affix "of Ditton," but only bred a small number of litters. Leslie was, however, a most popular and courteous judge, greatly in demand. He judged Pems at Crufts in 1957. The Welsh Corgi League also owe him a great debt of gratitude for the time and expertise he put into the making of the film Corgwn Sir Benfro, for which he provided the commentary.
Leslie Perrins also wrote a book Keeping a Corgi (1958). It can still be found via http://used.addall.com/
So all in all a man much respected for his many talents, it is fitting that the Pem exhibitors of today and the future strive to win the trophy in remembrance of a great man who loved our little Welsh dogs.
I am indebted to Ray Richards, our League archivist, for looking up information in the minutes for this article. - SH
Published in Our Corgi World, Summer 2011 and reproduced with kind permission.