I was shocked beyond belief to receive an early morning call at the beginning of the week informing me of the sudden death of George. I had spent quite a bit of time with him at a meeting at Atherstone on 18th of January this year, when we discussed our health, me being unable to judge at Crufts and him feeling quite fit and looking forward to the start of the hound trailing season in April. Two days later I received in the post, photos
We lived at opposite
ends of the country, but my wife Avril and I used to visit Cumbria for a
weeks hunting in the autumn each year, and on one occasion we called at George’s shop. He made us very welcome
on such a surprise and unheralded visit, and I was most
interested to find he had a mounted head of a Foxhound or Trail Hound
displayed on a top shelf. We had a lot in common apart from Basset Hounds,
with him it was his trail hounds, and with me, Welsh Fox hounds, this
sporting connection linked us closely.
We have possessed two books on hounds since the early 70’s written by George, and when Marianne Nixon asked me to write covering hunting with Basset Hounds for her book. I immediately checked George's work and came to the conclusion that his research was so thorough and conclusive, that it was impossible to improve, so that my contribution would have to be of a different nature
George had the ability to judge hounds to perfection, and it came as no surprise when he judged the hound group at Crufts in 2004, and his group winner, went on to become the Crufts Best in Show for that year. George was a man I am proud to have been acquainted with, and anyone who did not meet him, has been most unfortunate.
by Michael J Errey.
Chairman, BHC. July 2009
George Johnston was President of the Basset Hound Club & author of THE BASSET HOUND
(ISBN: 0091221102 / 0-09-122110-2) a seminal work on our breed. WM
editor Tony Roberts