Obituary for Mrs Ruth Ellis (Brayville Irish Setters) 

It was with a deep sense of loss and sadness that Priscilla and I learnt that Ruth had passed away on December 14th 2015 in Intensive Care at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading.  

We both feel we have lost a real friend, as together with John her beloved husband , we have known them for the best part of forty years. We well realise John will be inconsolable at her loss.

Ruth was an unusually determined and special person. She was always scrupulously honest, highly principled, intelligent  ...indeed someone you could rely upon 100%, a woman of her word, who would never let you down in any context. These parts of her character coupled with her warmth and humour and her intrinsic Welsh persona made her someone to be treasured. She loved her dogs, and as a judge, as you expected, brought together her innate honesty  intelligence, and experience to carry out  the task in front of her.

Ruth and John under their affix "Brayville” both bred and campaigned  homebred /linebred  Irish Setters although they kept no more than four or five setters at any one time.  They bred and owned 3 Irish Setter Show Champions, Sh. Ch.Brayville Dynamic Delegate, Sh. Ch.Brayville Demure Debutante, Sh.Ch.Brayville Leading Lady, all line bred via Brayville Regal Glory, who was from their original bitch they had from Barbara Birch (Moyna ), called Moyna Ladybird circa 1970s. Ruth first awarded CCs in 1990, judged  "Crufts"  (bitches) in 2003. I believe she last awarded  tickets in 2009. Ruth was elected as a KC Member in 1988. She was a long serving Committee member of The South Of England Irish Setter Club, and was Treasurer for more than 25 years. Both  Moira  Launchbury  and  Meg Webb as Secretary and Chairperson over  these years, will I know, mourn her passing and feel  that Ruth's  consistency and untiring work, was second to none in serving this Club. One cannot  also forget the hours she spent each year, to carefully produce and compile the  "insert pages " for the Clubs  Irish Setter Book  of Champions. This Club and its members owe Ruth a considerable debt of gratitude for the contribution she made to this Clubs history.

Ruth was as I say, a deeply caring person.  After her mother's death some years back , she kept  a watching brief on two remaining brothers,  her uncles, who lived on into great ages. They lived in rural Wales and, were often referred to as "the uncles ". They were fiercely independent , quite eccentric and vulnerable but she felt responsible for their wellbeing , they were burgled  I recall and she and John belted off down the M4 and over the bridge. Ruth was a  highly competent driver and she knew how to put her foot on the pedal ...she always worried for their safety and wellbeing to the end...needless to say she would not have dreamt of ever letting them down ...that was Ruth!

John and Ruth were a devoted, close couple, married for 48 years, and first met in Whitby at a National chess contest 51 years ago. They lived when we first knew them in Maidenhead and subsequently moved to Henley on Thames. They very much complimented each other as a couple in that John was always the quiet man at her side and totally supportive. He loved the dogs but let Ruth deal with the show world side.

Ruth was a mathematics teacher by profession.  The school at which she taught for many years was "multi-racial, which was less common place, than it is today.  Knowing Ruth, with her sensitivity, intelligence and dedication she would have been a first rate popular teacher and many pupils ,over the years will have been influenced and gained so much  from her to carry forward in their lives. Is there a greater gift you can pass on as a legacy to those you leave behind than humanity, education, and knowledge?  Those pupils will I know , remember  Ruth Ellis and will be richer for knowing her in their lives , as indeed we are,  who knew her and so valued her friendship and came in contact  via our  "setters". Her gift to us was indeed profound , important and deeply meaningful and will not be forgotten.  Her late brother Keith who died in a traffic accident in the nineties was a highly regarded Professor of biophysics at Imperial College and obviously their talent was in the genes. She was multi-faceted in her interests which extended to sport particularly tennis which she loved and used to play competitively in earlier years.  She was interested in Politics, The Arts, Theatre, Music and Opera.  She was well travelled and had an interesting social life which she enjoyed to the full.  She was a frequent attendant at Clarges Street for "the Ladies who lunch ", loved Wimbledon, Glyndebourne, the West End Theatre.  She was never seen other than smartly dressed, and well groomed.  Her life was not restricted but fuller and richer notwithstanding her deep love for her setters. Much of this lifestyle came about with Corporate sponsorship as a part of Johns executive position as Company Secretary for Abbey National (now Santander).

As her health began to deteriorate she withdrew from Committee work and showing her dogs.  I used to send her cards from time to time for no other purpose than I wanted her to know that "out of sight didn't mean out of mind" for us.  We realised that she characteristically wanted to face her demons privately and with dignity on her terms......which we fully accepted and so consistent with her strength of character.

We will miss , but always treasure her memory as I feel sure will her many friends in "Irish". To John all one can say is she was much valued and will be sorely missed.   

Ruth's funeral will be held with a short service at Caversham Crematorium at 2.15 pm on Tuesday January 5th 2016. I understand the family request "no flowers" but if you wish to make a donation in Ruth's memory please send your donation via the Funeral Directors Tomalin and Son, 38, Reading Rd., Henley on Thames, RG9 1AG (Tel. 01491573370) in favour of "The Dog's Trust". Our heartfelt condolences go to John of course, and to the extended family at this sad time.

JAMES S. F. SMITH (Reddins Irish Setters)


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