Margo Parsons - Deavitte
Obituary by Simon Parsons
Margo Parsons of the Deavitte Corgis died last Saturday, aged 85, after two weeks in hospital.
After owning pets of various breeds, the family bought their first Pembroke in the mid 1960s, from Doris Mason (Revelmere). In due course Margo was tempted to breed a litter and she was fortunate that Connie Collins (Convista), the owner of the local stud dog, was willing to pass on her knowledge of the practicalities of breeding and stud work. From her, Doris and later Pat Curties (Lees), Margo learned a lot about these aspects and as time went on she too was always happy to pass on this lore to the next generation and she was a frequent recipient of early morning phone calls from friends in the middle of whelping a bitch - "What do I do now?" Even when she moved down to rural Wales she was never happier than helping neighbouring farmers with their lambing!
From her first litter we kept a dog pup who introduced us to the show scene, starting with the Surrey and Sussex exemption show circuit and then to the open shows which used to flourish in that area.
Deciding to get more involved, Margo asked Nan Butler (of Wey), along with Pat Curties and Patsy Hewan (Stormerbanks) one of the 'big three' breeders of that era, if she could buy a bitch puppy. Breeders of that time were only too happy to help keen newcomers and Nan let her have one, who produced, in her first litter by Ch Lees Chico, Deavitte Karina (born 17.09.1970) who won a CC under Joe Cartledge. Further consistent winners at home and abroad came from this line, culminating in Ch Deavitte Treacle Parkin, made up in 1986 under Bobby James.
Ch. Deavitte Treacle Parkin
Meanwhile we had heard that Jessie Fitzwilliams had mated her beautiful Ch Fitzdown Starbelle to the great Ch Olantigh Christmas Gift and with characteristic generosity she let us have the best of the pups. Fitzdown Dorian of Deavitte was quite a personality and a challenge to show, but with the help of Sarah Taylor's patience and handling skills he eventually achieved his title. He made his mark as a sire, producing seven UK champions including Treacle Parkin and Sarah's outstanding sisters Ch Bymil Black Nymph (BIS winner and several times top Pem) and Ch Bymil Gold Sylph (G2 in the working group at Crufts), whose dam's line stemmed from Margo's breeding.
Ch. Fitzdown Dorian of Deavitte
Sarah had bought a lovely extrovert blue merle Cardigan, Ch Lees Blue Rose of Bymil, from Pat Curties, and Margo was very enamoured of her so she too had a blue from Pat's next litter. Lees Blue Moon of Deavitte won a CC and produced the brindle point tri Ch Deavitte Moonbeam, top Cardi of her year handled by Margo or by Fran Fricker, and her brother Deavitte Blue Fox of Rossacre who sired Ch Corben Tri Try Again.
Margo mated Moonbeam to her CC-winning Kerman Burning Oaks and as she sensibly felt it was time to wind down her breeding she let the two best pups go to Finland where Deavitte Oakleaf and D. Oakapple made a significant impact in the show ring and as producers.
Margo enjoyed committee work, serving on Sutton society in the days when it ran the spectacular 'international' shows in Carshalton Park. She chaired the Welsh Corgi League's Southern section for many years and later served on the executive committee, as well as hosting many of the early meetings of the South Eastern club. She awarded CCs in both breeds and when she was elected president of the League her term included the diamond jubilee show in 1998 where she judged BIS.
She thought that would be her final appointment but then came an invitation to judge Pems at Crufts. I can recall being full of sensible advice for her long day - do take things steadily, sit down between classes, make sure you have a lunchbreak and so on. Needless to say she took not the slightest notice, went straight through the entry without sitting once and finished with plenty of time to spare.
She also judged in the US, Australia and New Zealand and Europe, always getting maximum enjoyment from each trip, even when she did a show in France where no one bothered to feed the judges until knight in shining armour Stuart Mallard came to the rescue!
Margo Parsons at the International Dog Show in Berne, Switzerland, 1993
and Mrs F. Lagler with her Harlech Hazel,
winner of CAC/CACIB, and Best Swiss Bred Corgi
In the early '00s a serious illness kept her in intensive care for two months and we doubted she would survive. Through indomitable willpower she did, only for another blow to fall when her husband John died suddenly. Ever determined, she set herself a target of being fit enough to attend the Welsh Kennel Club dinner when Fran was proposing the toast.
Further health problems down the years limited her showgoing, though she enjoyed attending the mid Wales events for as long as she could, and her many other interests kept her fully occupied. Thankfully she was able to remain independent, with the company of her beloved Jack Russell Thimble, until her last illness.
Margo Parsons with Thimble
She leaves two sons, Simon, associate editor of Dog World, and Tim, and grandchildren Katie and Morgan.
Dog World, 29.07.2015
Reproduced with kind permission