In 1975 I rolled up at Talbot Radcliffe’s Kennels in search of a job as an assistant gamekeeper. Talbot invited me into his house and sat me down with his head-gamekeeper Gerald Ward. In a short time we had a deal worked out. We shook hands and as Gerald Ward left the room Talbot said to me, “Two years under that gentleman and you will be able to work anywhere in the world.” Twenty three years later as I look back I realize what he said was true. With the expert guidance and training of Gerald Ward and the worldwide connections of Talbot I have travelled the world and done things that in my youth would have seemed ridiculous to even dream about. I’ve fished for Tarpon in Costa Rica, rode polo horse’s in Texas, shot 2,000 shells in one day in Argentina and many, many more adventures too numerous to list. Most important of all he introduced me to my present boss, a lady with a passion for springers. In the winter of 1997 I met with Talbot in Wale’s and explained to him that I had kept the Saighton line intact as best I could and that, as far as I could see, I would spend the rest of my life preserving this great line of dogs. He seemed very happy and as I left him he talked about coming to visit me. I owe a great life to this man and a great line of dogs.
In the 6 years I worked for him he often repeated that if he was to be remembered for one thing, “it was for putting the legs on springers”. I will always remember him for that. Many of us had our ups and downs with Talbot, but many of us also met through him and we are all the better for knowing him.