Mr Arthur Kelley ( Bradking )
It is with great sadness that I report the death of Mr Arthur Kelley, more famously of the Bradking Labradors, but also a lover and owner of Irish Setters during the 1970's and 80's. Arthur died on Sunday 24th May following a long period of difficulty during which he was rendered unable to move around freely or without pain. Regrettably his dear wife Peggy survived him by less than 24 hours, dying at home on Monday 25th May.
Arthur and Peggy were devoted to each other and their dogs, living in the home they bought a newlyweds almost 60 years ago. Bradking became synonymous with Labradors of great quality and soundness throughout the last 40 years. Based almost entirely on Sandylands stock,
Bradking produced Labrador Champions in all three recognised colours, the only English Kennel to achieve this record to this day. SH CH Bradking Hugo became the Breed Record holder with 50CC's . Unlike many kennels, litters at Bradking were few, and only planned to further the breed. The show record of Bradking Labradors is reported elsewhere, but not so their love of the Irish Setter.
Arthur and Peggy bought Orichalc Quadrille from Mrs Valerie Page in 1973, making him up in 1977 . "Red" as he was known was a great showman, and when mated in 1977 to Orichalc Elgena ( a daughter of O. Alruna. Sister to O.Alchymist), Chugerra Christmas Cracker was kept who gained his title in 1983. Quadrille was also mated to Berle of Brackenfield at about the same time, and a companion for Christmas Cracker was bought home. I had the honour and pleasure of travelling to shows over a 15 year or so period with Mr Kelley, spending many hours discussing Labradors and Irish Setters.
Mr Kelley was very much the "Old School", you never applied to be placed on a Judges List, you were invited. 50 years dedication to a breed typified the character of Mr Kelley, who kept his own council, but was not afraid to give his opinion when sought. Mrs Kelley rarely travelled to shows, the dogs could not be left alone and no-one was entrusted with their health and welfare. I personally owe a great debt to them both for imparting their knowledge of The Labrador, seeing almost on a daily basis each litter, watching them grow and critically analyzing their progress.
It is a great loss to Gundogs generally that Mr Kelley's opinion was not sought in the show ring, save for judging Labradors on two occasions at Championship Show level. He was respected among the greats in his breed, particularly Mrs Broadley, whose friendship he treasured.