Margaret pays tribute to late partner Billy

Margaret Crainey with dogs Becky and Islay and, below, her late husband Billy
Margaret Crainey with dogs Becky and Islay and, below, her late husband Billy

THE partner of late gundog breeder Billy Black has spoken of her great pride in his achievements after one of his labradors recently won her first field trial.

Margaret Crainey (62) of Donaldson Avenue in Kilsyth, was devastated when Billy passed away last October at the age of 71.

However, it was upon reading a story in the News and Chronicle last month about a four-year-old black labrador, known to Margaret as Annie, that she decided to get in touch.

The dog is now looked after by 18-year-old gundog trainer Lewis MacNeill, from Kelvinhead, and has been re-named Dumbreck Raven of Auchencloch. At a recent field trial event on the Achnafree Estate in Perthshire, Lewis and Dumbreck emerged victorious from their first crack at a novice competition.

Margaret explained that the dog was always destined to be a success.

She said: “He [Billy] called her Annie after my mum, she was always a lovely natured dog. We had planned to keep her and he had her well trained.

“He was going to give Lewis one of the other pups but it became a bit of a handful so, Billy being Billy, he decided to give Annie to Lewis – it nearly broke my heart to lose her!”

Margaret added: “Billy was just a marvel with them, he could practically get them to talk. He bred a lot of field trial champions over the years and is well thought of among the trainers.”

Understandably, Margaret misses Billy dearly at home, but is kept well entertained by dogs Islay and Becky – the latter is 15 years old, or 73 in human years.

Margaret added: “The two of them together are just a handful at times, but they always keep me going.

“They’re a great wee reminder to have of him.”