Brief History of East Midland Gundog Club
The Club was started in 1970 by a small group of gundog enthusiasts initially to train their own dogs together on a Sunday morning in an area adjacent to the River Soar in Leicester and they called the group Soar Valley Gundog Club. With friends and other interested gundog owners it quickly expanded and an open Gundog Rally was organised when most people who attended and competed joined the Club as members. A variety of Working Tests were organised each year with a high standard of organisation and the membership continued to grow.
Initially efforts to register with the Kennel Club failed because another established club objected, claiming that they covered the area. However, a check on the addresses of our members showed that besides Leicestershire, members came from all adjacent counties and a proposed change of name to East Midland Gundog Club reflected this position. A new application to the Kennel Club this time was accepted, with the restriction that we could only be a Training Club which barred us from running Field Trials. This condition was accepted with reluctance but the Kennel Club had a policy at that time to limit Clubs running Field Trials.
Training Classes were organised at six centres throughout the area, based near to the home of each Trainer in charge, who would personally organise the training ground through local contacts. Later the areas were reduced to on different nights of the week. Having set up our own Training Ground with better facilities, all training now takes place there under a Chief Trainer. Sadly, for the first time, we are not running training classes due to not having anyone prepared to be the Chief Trainer. There are also other training facilities available locally with other clubs or individual trainers.
The newly named Club became one of the leading clubs running Working Tests and were the first to introduce the Mock Field Trials, where the competitors were given different retrieves from each other similar to a Field Trial, unlike the Working Tests where competitors are given identical tasks. This innovative idea has been widely copied.
Eventually the Kennel Club gave us Field Trial status and we commenced with Novice Retriever and Spaniel Trails. Having proved our ability over a number of years, we now run Two Novice and one Open Retriever Trial each year, including a two-day Open Stake. We also run a Novice Any Variety Spaniel and Open English Springer Spaniel Trial and a Novice Cocker Spaniel Stake in the annual Field Trial Programme. The active Field Trial Programme has resulted in some reduction in the extensive Working Test Programme that we had built up and now the Working Test programme is rather limited.
The present membership is in the order of 600 plus members, but they do not all have the same interests. Some favour Retrievers or Spaniels and a few are interested in both. Again, interest is divided into taking part in Field Trials, Working Tests or both.
A management committee run the club with two Field Trial Secretaries responsible for organising the Retriever and Spaniel Trials. The club officers are elected or
re-elected each year at the Annual General Meeting and the committee retire in rotation and can be re-elected if they chose to do so.
Harold Hall, . President.