Flatcoat health co-ordinator triumphs in KC contest


FLAT-COATED Retriever enthusiast Liz Branscombe has been named Kennel Club Breed Health Co-ordinator of the Year. 

  She won the public vote via an online poll in this new competition, which is designed to reward the hard work and dedication of the KC’s network of co-ordinators across the 217 breeds recognised in the UK.

  More than 1,700 people voted and the five finalists were invited to a Christmas lunch at the KC’s London offices when the winner was presented with her award by chairman Simon Luxmoore.

  Nominated by the Flat-coated Retriever Society, Liz provides confidential advice and support to owners of the breed and this year organised a health seminar. 

  She has a health survey planned for 2017 and continues to liaise with the Animal Health Trust regarding glaucoma research, as well as with Cambridge Veterinary School concerning work being done on cancer.

  “I’m thrilled to have been given this honour and would like to thank all the people who voted for me,” she said. “I’d also like to thank Val Jones who started many of the initiatives we are continuing. 

  “I hope my win will inspire others to come forward and offer their services in the name of their breed’s health. It’s very rewarding work.”

  The other finalists at the lunch were Sam Goldberg (Beagles), Penny Rankine-Parsons (French Bulldogs), Margaret Woods (Golden Retrievers) and Kathryne Wrigley (Gordon Setters).

  Breed clubs and councils were invited to make nominations for the award and a shortlist of five candidates was chosen by an expert panel comprising canine ophthalmologist Prof Sheila Crispin, head of canine genetics at the Animal Health Trust Dr Cathryn Mellersh; international championship show judge Frank Kane; and the KC’s head of health and research Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi. When nominating a candidate, breed clubs and councils were asked to say why the nominee should win. Among the characteristics being looked for by the judging panel were their ability to motivate breeders and breed clubs in relation to health matters as well as their ability to encourage participation in health surveys and research projects.

  “The role of the breed health co-ordinator is a very important one and involves a lot of hard work, much of it unseen,” Mr Luxmoore said. 

  “We’re therefore delighted that the work of these volunteers has been highlighted by this competition and offer hearty congratulations to Liz on her success – and to the other finalists too. They were in very good company as they have all shown remarkable devotion to their individual breeds.”