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Daphne Gie 2-1-1928 - 19-7-2010
Jagai Afghan Hounds, UK and Australia
Page 1


(Ed Note: This loving and informed tribute was written by Keith Searle of Salamkhan Afghan Hounds (UK, and Australia). We are honoured to have been given permission by Keith to reproduce his tribute here and we hope to add to this excellent foundation. Thank you Keith (keithsearle474@bigpond.com.au)





As QAHA (Queensland Afghan Hound Association, Australia) members will know by now, our Patroness and PRO Daphne Gie died in July. She will be sorely missed by her myriad friends all over the world. Some of our Australian members may not be aware that she is revered in other parts of the world just as much, if not more, as in Queensland. The following tribute has been drawn from many sources.

She was born Daphne Mary Smith in Lincoln, England, on 2nd January 1928. Her early ambition was to be a dancer, but this was not to be. In 1946 Daphne acquired her first afghan, Avia, from Helen Semple (Pushtikuh) via a “tall, blonde, Polish Count” who she met at art college. Further stock joined her kennel from Bletchingly kennels over the years with an emphasis on a working style of dog. She believed that the afghan should be capable of catching its own dinner and over the years became dismayed at the way that many show afghans developed. In the late 1950s Daphne started showing afghans and soon after married Richard Gie. Together they set up home at Pluckley in Kent. Richard bought her two Khorrassan bitches as engagement and wedding presents. These became the basis of her Jagai breeding programme. 1964 saw them move the Jagai kennel to West Down, Hastingleigh near Ashford.

Since that time nearly 300 afghans have been owned or bred by her and afghans bred by her have become Champions in England, Belgium, Greece, Scandinavia, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia. Soon after starting her show career Daphne was asked to join the Committee of the Southern Afghan Hound Club. She served on this Committee for the next 20 years, being Secretary for most of the 1970s. Her enthusiasm was notable, being the first to arrive at show venues and the last to leave. Any newcomers to showing afghans would get all the advice and encouragement they needed from her. Daphne was the first to acknowledge that she was not the best handler in the world, so 1963 saw her take the first steps in judging afghans, leading to her first Championship appointment in1968. There followed a large number of UK championship shows, culminating in Crufts in 1982, where she judged bitches. From 1969 onwards judging took her to Sweden, USA (7 times), Europe, New Zealand, Japan, Scandinavia and, significantly, Australia in 1984. Her last Championship appointment was to judge 126 dogs at the Yorkshire Afghan Hound Society show which was held in conjunction with the 2003 Afghan World Congress.






Daphne always had a great liking for “original” afghans and in 1973, with the help of the British Ambassador to Afghanistan, she imported a very primitive afghan from Afghanistan. People who met them never failed to be impressed by their piercing eyes, wild attitude, and enormous energy and speed. Daphne said that how ever high they raised the fences, the afghans just got closer to the bottom and then sprang over them. Jill Knight-Messenger recollects one of them, Chipak, suddenly leaping three feet up in the air at something unseen by the humans. Upon landing the bitch spat out a small bird! Before being imported to England, Chipak had been a successful hunter in her native country.




For much of her adult life Daphne taught art at the Ashford North Secondary School. She was a very talented artist and passed her enthusiasm on to many of her students. At least one of these stayed in touch with her for many years. On occasions she would take an afghan into school as a model for her students. Her talent extended beyond her art and in 1978 her book, Afghan Hounds: A Complete Guide, was published. By this time she was an established international judge During her Australian judging stay, Daphne was so taken with the country that she and Richard decided to emigrate. They were soon established at Kabi Place, a property which was reputedly built on aboriginal land from which the name was taken. Wildlife abounded and her visitors frequently had close encounters with a wide variety of birds, marsupials and snakes.

By 1991 they were both heavily involved with the QAHA, with Richard taking on the Editorship of the Ghan and Daphne being PRO and Patroness, a role she retained to her death. One of the duties she fulfilled was the annual CCCQ lecture for upcoming afghan hound judges. In this she has been ably aided and abetted by Dennis McGreevy.


Everybody who has visited Daphne at home will have been aware of the numbers of teddy bears on display. At Christmas they would all be on parade throughout the house. Although this might be thought to be one of her eccentricities, the origin of this collection was down to Richard. After his death visitors continued to give bears to Daphne and the collection expanded. Each year she supported the QAHA in many ways. As the Public Relations Officer of the Association she would spend many a day on the telephone collecting gossip and stories that would go into her reports for this magazine as well as preparing an annual report for the Afghan Hound Year Book in the UK.

Her contribution to the Specialties was largely unseen by most members. Soon after judges contracts had been finalised, she would collect photos of the judge’s favourite dogs. There was always an element of subterfuge here, as the real reason for the pictures was supposed to be secret, with the result that she would get frustrated by receiving many pictures which she felt were completely unsuitable.

Daphne would set about producing a painting or drawing of the judge’s dog to be used as a front cover on the show catalogue and would then get the original framed for presentation to the judge after the show. This work would take her a number of weeks and she never claimed the cost of materials or framing from the club. She always sponsored awards for all the shows. This was by no means the end of her contribution.

(Photo below is Daphne with Cinzia Aymaretti Camia of Gran Pamir Afghan Hounds (Italy).
Cinzia judged one of the two Specialties that QAHA held in June 2010 and Cinzia
spent a couple of days with Daphne prior to judging)
,

When the judge arrived at Brisbane airport, Daphne would be there to welcome them and whisk them away to Landsborough so that they had no contaminating contact with any QAHA members! Each year she would worry about what to feed them, and how to entertain them. For up to a week she would wine, dine and take her guests to places of interest before ensuring that they appeared at the show in an unstressed condition. Without exception, our judges enthused about her hospitality.


In recent years she has had deteriorating health which has led to multiple joint replacements among other things. Quite typically, she has made light of all her problems and been fiercely determined to carry on as if nothing were wrong. However, all her close friends have been aware that this was just a front. This year she became more aware of her frailty and, although she would not admit it to anyone, she realised that she needed some assistance in looking after judges. This was accentuated by the fact that there were two Specialties with the attendant two judges and their consorts. As a result, for the first time she agreed to the judges being met at the airport by others and one of the judges did not stay with her. With hindsight this could be seen as the beginning of the end.

At the Specialties she had to leave before the end due to the extreme cold. A few weeks later she was still entertaining, but for the first time she would admit to being in some pain. Another fortnight later her health deteriorated further and one of her local friends moved into her house to look after her and a week later she died peacefully in her sleep.

At the end of July many of her friends gathered at her house to remember her. Her house was decked with memorabilia with every chair and table covered with photographs, teddy bears and other souvenirs of her life. Those attending represented neighbours, friends, members of societies she supported and a significant number of QAHA members. Dennis McGreevy gave a moving account of her life and several others added to this with personal recollections. Murray Anderson and some neighbours and friends put on a spread of food and drink and many fond memories were exchanged. Daphne would have been proud.

The world has lost a delightful, generous, hospitable, talented, slightly eccentric and lovely lady who will be sadly missed.

(Photo below is Daphne with Di and Keith Searle)


This is probably the last photo ever taken of Daphne – complete with python! 22nd June 2010
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