The following has been taken from the Society’s 2001 yearbook.
November 2000 marked the end of an era for the Flatcoated Retriever Society. One of its most loyal and steadfast members, Read Flowers, died on the eighteenth, aged 82 years. He had been Committee Member, Chairman, President and finally Patron.
Although failing health in his later years had made it difficult to attend meetings, he was always ready to help or give advice when needed. Living all his life on the Fens, Read took over farming at Salters Lode from his father. He fought with the 8th Army in the Artillery during World War II, campaigning through North Africa and Italy.
Despite being a hard-working farmer, Read had other interests. He was a racing pigeon enthusiast and worked on the local Drainage Committee and on the Parish Council. His abiding love, however after his family, was Flatcoated Retrievers.
I first met him when I bought my first Flatcoat, Asperula, from him to found my kennels in 1955. Later made up to Champion, she was a daughter of Colin Wells’ field trial winning Champion Waterboy and Read’s Ch Pewcroft Proper, his foundation bitch. His litters, aptly named after ﬂowers, began with Asperula, Adonis and Allysum (a FTW) and ended with Reed Mace, his current dog. Equally apt was his affix, Fenrivers, which he acquired for the ‘D’ litter.
The ‘B’ litter produced Fenrivers Evergreen which, mated to Ch Woodlark, bred the great dog Ch Fenrivers Golden Rod, a field-trial award winner. All Read’s dogs were used primarily for picking-up and, if possible, for showing or field trials. He picked—up regularly at Ryston, the ground on which his father had farmed before the war.
Golden Rod’s son, Ch Tonggreen Sparrowboy, out of Tonggreen Swift, was as famous as his sire producing, among others, Ch Fenrivers Kalmis, Ch Wizardwood Sandpiper (sire of FTCh Werrion Redwing of Collyers), Ch Heronsflight Sedge and Ch Damases Tarquol of Ryshot (sire of Ch Shargleam Blackcap). Ch Heronsﬂight Sedge produced Fenrivers Ling (FTW) and Fenrivers Nuphar which sired Downstream Nimble, Fenrivers Ling siring Ch Wizardwood Brown Owl and Tawny Owl.
Thus it will be seen that the Fenrivers Kennel had an enormous influence on dual-purpose Flatcoat breeding from the ﬁfties onwards. A close liaison with Colin Wells, the Duke of Rutland’s head keeper, supported much of Read’s dual-purpose thinking. He was an enormous help to me when I was Hon. Secretary of the Flatcoated Retriever Society and he was Chairman; he was always ready to listen and to advise on matters doggy or politic. Never one to jump to hasty conclusions, he produced the perfect blend of a sympathetic ear followed by considered opinion.
Read will be missed by all who have the well being of the Flatcoated Retriever at heart and by his many friends. To his wife Molly, his sons Hugh and Robert, his daughter-in-law Liz and his grandchildren Rosalie, Thomas and Susie we send our deepest sympathy and happy memories of a great gentleman.
The Hon. Mrs Amelia Jessel 4th December 2000