In 2000 I thought I would try showing my first beagle. After all she had a lovely looking pedigree full of Champions who were in many of the beagle books I had so she would probably be a Crufts winner.
I duly went along to Kirkcaldy and “had a go.” The judge couldn’t help laughing at the antics of “Buffy” but duly gave her the same consideration as the others. I was lucky enough to get to know the first judge I was under, Jan Bell  of Cachalot Beagles, and luckier still to count her as a friend.
Jan’s  attitude to life and beagles seemed much the same to me - infectious enthusiasm. She never seemed too down if not placed and never “blew her own trumpet” over her successes. She certainly loved her dogs, having 9 at one time - beagles with a couple of labs thrown in for good measure!
Jan served on the SBC committee before my time and was also a ‘B’ list judge. She certainly knew her beagles, pointing out things about several dogs that I had never previously noticed. She made a point of coming over to see every litter I had and her opinions were greatly valued. Visits from and to Jan and Tom were always keenly anticipated as they were always good company. Jan admitted to a particular fondness for tan and whites and even after her diagnosis earlier this year said she was determined to have another tan and white puppy.
Sadly she never did, passing away on Boxing Day at only 60 years of age. Her determination to continue to attend the “beagle racing” and both SKC shows this year, as well as her demeanour to all she spoke with astounded everyone.
There are many other friends more qualified to write a tribute to Jan, friends who have known her for many more years than I. Jan Bell will be greatly missed by all of us who knew her and our hearts go out to Tom and family.

Gary Clacher

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