It is with great sadness that I have to report the passing of Gaye O’Connor, Caispern Irish Setters and Caispern Irish Red & White Setters, after a devastating short illness. Gaye was a good friend to many of us and a fellow exhibitor.  As a youngster she was no amateur in the world of show dogs as her mother had bred and shown Rough Collies.  Gaye started out in IRWS in the mid 1990s with an Ardbraccan bitch bred by Trudy Walsh  and went on to make up an Irish Champion and she also bred SH CH Caispern Roddy Owen at Oldestone owned by David and Val Wade.  Gaye’s stock was also the foundation for a number of other successful IRWS lines.

Gaye was without doubt the backbone of the Irish Red & White Setter Club of Great Britain, a long serving committee member she was also Chairman of the club for two years.  She was also on the Rescue sub-committee and always ready to help an IRWS in need. Gaye was a member of our Breed Education Sub Committee and led the development of the recent Multiple Choice Question paper for the then JCF.  She delivered Breed Specific Seminars in an informative, amusing and professional way, a product of her teaching background.   Gaye was also our well organised show manager.

Gaye’s first love was Irish Setters, she started out in the mid 70s breeding a number of ticket winners and Irish Champions, shown in the main either by Gaye or owned and shown by her good friend Helen Cohen who showed Gaye’s breeding in both IRWS and IS.

Helen is still showing one of Gaye’s Caispern Irish Setter boys. Gaye was a committee member of the Irish Setter Breeders Club and their Assistant Show Secretary and she was also the Secretary of Sutton Coldfield & DCS for over 20 years.

Last year Gaye became a member of the Kennel Club. She was proposed by dog people completely out of our Setter breeds which shows the regard she was held in the world of dogs in general and had enjoyed some lovely lunches there with friends.

Gaye passing is a tremendous loss to our Club, her friends and family.  Our deepest condolences go to her husband Eamonn and her sister Wendy.

Mary Blackwell Sherrat

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of my friend and fellow setter enthusiast, Gaye O’Connor at an age when she should have been enjoying a well earned retirement with her husband of 42 years, Eamonn.  Gaye had grown up with dogs as her mother bred Rough Collies so it was a natural progression that Gaye, in turn, should devote herself to breeding and showing dogs although, of course, she chose Irish Setters as well as  Irish Red & White Setters and miniature poodles. There were also pedigree cats.

Gaye had her first Irish Setter in 1973 and began her show career the following year, joining the Irish Setter Breeders’ Club in 1977 and building her knowledge of dogs and dogdom to become a well known character in the show world, not only breeding good dogs but judging  and active participation in both Open and Championship show management. 

In her professional life, Gaye was an English teacher and she had a lifelong appreciation of the literary “greats” witnessed by the fact that many of her dogs were named as characters from Shakespeare, Austen, Hardy and the Brontes. Two such were Caispern Polonius (William) retained by Gaye and C. Lorenzo, (Louie) owned by Helen Cohen.  Both these dogs won CC’s as did several other dogs that Gaye bred and exhibited.  Gaye exported quality  dogs to the USA and to Europe and had many friends both here and abroad.  Her judging career meant that she awarded CC’s in both the Irish Setter breeds and she judged abroad on several occasions.

Gaye was a vibrant personality and the show world will be the poorer for her passing and I’m sure you will join me in sending deepest condolences to Eamonn and to Gaye’s sister, Wendy.

Gloria Horrocks, Irish Setter Breeders Club

In late 1980s and 1990s Eamonn and Gaye regularly exhibited their dogs on the Southern Irish Show Circuit, whilst also visiting Eamonn’s family. Gaye welcomed newcomers to The Circuit with open arms, invited them to social events, and this warm reception by Gaye and Eamonn will always be well remembered by many first time exhibitors.

We passed many hours discussing secondary level state education. She taught English for many years. Gaye entertained her audiences with sympathetic, often amusing, tales of life in the classroom.

If you asked Gaye for an opinion on any subject you could guarantee a straightforward ‘no holds barred’ honest, direct response.Therefore she was highly regarded by all who knew her. Gaye was well liked and admired by all who knew her. She always had a shine and sparkle about her.

When I think of Gaye I think of brightness, light, a vibrant colour. Someone who loved life,
laughter and fun.

Adrienne Callister, Irish Setter Breeders Club