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Crufts 2007 Roundup

15 years ago

13th March, 2007 00h00

The world’s greatest dog show reached its conclusion after a fantastic final day of breed judging, dog activities and displays, celebrity appearances and much, much more. All eyes were on the NEC Arena as Crufts 2007 reached a tense and thrilling climax with the traditional Best in Show final. Over 6,000 people filled the seats of the venue, which has been used for the first time at this year’s show, to witness this great spectacle, with an audience of millions watching live on BBC2. Zena Thorn-Andrews realised the ultimate dream for a dog judge in taking responsibility for choosing which of the seven worthy group winners would become the overall champion. Zena chose Ch/Am Ch Araki Fabulous Willy, pet name Willy, a Tibetan Terrier owned by Messrs Smith and Shaw from Brockworth in Gloucestershire and handled by Larry Cornelius from California. As the sun rose over Birmingham this morning, just five of the finalists had been decided and much of today’s activity centred around the judging of the popular Toy and Utility groups to fill the final two places. Albert Wight had the job of picking the top Utility dog after an initial entry of over 2,800 had been whittled down to just the Best of Breed winners. Albert selected Willy as his pick, a decision thoroughly vindicated by Zena Thorn-Andrews a few hours later. A similarly large entry of Toy dogs also enjoyed their day in the spotlight at the show today, and Brenda Banbury had the difficult decision of choosing one dog to go forward to Best in Show. Brenda chose Am/Can Ch Divines Marc of Friendship at Delcost, a Maltese owned by Mrs C Gillies of Motherwell and handled by Wagner Fernandes from San Francisco. Between the breed judging and Best in Show finale there was plenty to keep the huge crowd entertained. After a week of voting by phone and text via the BBC2 Crufts TV programme, the winner of the Friends for Life final was announced in the Arena. Six incredible dogs who had made a huge difference to their owners’ lives were shortlisted for this prestigious award, and the public selected Molly as the worthy winner. Molly is a rescue dog who was trained by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. She has brought a renewed enjoyment of life to her 81-year old deaf owner Tony Higbed following the death of his wife and dog. The Friends for Life competition was followed by the traditional superb display of Heelwork to Music given by Mary Ray, which this year saw her beautiful control of two dogs in a routine inspired by James Bond. Crufts 2007 has also made full use of the two Pavilions that link the halls to the NEC Arena, with one being used exclusively for Obedience competition over the four days of the show. The main event of the day in this purpose built area was the World Cup Obedience competition, which produced a surprise result. Having won this event for the previous three years, England started as strong favourites but had to settle for joint third place with the auld enemy Scotland behind a victorious Netherlands side, with the Channel Islands coming in second. Away from the canine competition there were several familiar faces to spot around the show today. The much-loved Ricky Tomlinson, known to millions as patriarch Jim in the hit comedy The Royle Family, made an appearance at the show, happily meeting and greeting visitors. Also moving around the halls was Coronation Street star Ian Reddington, who plays Vernon Tomlin in the popular soap. Two actresses from Hollyoaks were on hand to add a touch of youth and glamour to proceedings, as Ciara Janson came to the show with real-life mum and co-star, Debbie Arnold. TV vet Marc Abraham from the Paul O’Grady Show also lent his support to some of the many good causes that Crufts promotes. And yes, in case you have been reading these reports all weekend, K9 was here again today. He has certainly made lots of new friends over the four days of the show and was finally seen departing the venue for a romantic tryst with one of the NEC’s electric mobility scooters. Crufts 2007 has come to a wonderful end after a year of careful planning and preparation, followed by four long but fantastic days. Before we all get to work thinking about how we can make next year’s show bigger and better again, please raise your glasses one final time to our wonderful 2007 Best in Show champion Willy, who proved just how fabulous he was. Cheers!

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