Bob Thomson

We are sad to announce the death of Bob Thomson, husband of Joint Show Manager Dot Thomson. Bob has always been a great support to Dot at the Show and will be remembered by many of you. He was also editor of the club magazine Russian Tails for a time.

Our sincere condolences and thoughts are with Dot at this difficult time.


Rosemary Solman (Atikin Russian Blues)
I am very sad to report the death on Sunday 10th March 2013 of Rosemary. Rosemary was an active Committee Member of the RBBA as well as a past Membership Secretary, Kitten Secretary, Welfare Officer, BAC Representative and for many years our Show Manager. Not only have I worked alongside Rosemary for more years than I care to remember, we were also personal friends. I will certainly miss her very much.

Sometimes when one reads such obituaries as this you don’t necessarily know the name to relate to – all I will say is that many, many of you in the South of England will have beautifully written Certificates in her hand as she always did this job at shows.

Our thoughts are with her daughter Louise and son David.

Marlene Buckeridge
Chairman RBBA

A tribute by Laurie Curtis follows:

Rosemary was one of the first good friends I made in the Cat Fancy. Of course we had a love of Russian Blues in common - and later on we found that we both loved gardening, her garden and the plants in it were a true passion. It turned out that she and my mother-in-law had grown up together living on the same road in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, a fact that used to make us say 'small world' every time we talked about Rosemary's childhood.
We lived relatively close to Rosemary at the time and she soon took me under her wing. We took to spending many of our Saturdays or Sundays in each other's company, sharing lifts to Shows or cat-related meetings. On long drives we chatted about life, and cats, and she often told me off with a giggle when I undertook cars on the motorway (it was a joke with us on how much middle lane drivers annoy me)!
I admired the way Rosemary helped out at Shows doing table work; she loved to talk to the Judges whilst they signed their certificates catching up on their news and sharing hers with them. She just knew everyone and never forgot a name. She was often very naughty: using her very dry sense of humour to best effect when bantering with the Judges which helped make the end of a long day a more pleasant experience. In years gone by Rosemary often worked on table with another well-known Russian breeder, Marjory Draper. Both ladies were a force to be reckoned with and many people used to get their names muddled up. In good humour Rosemary used to answer to the name Marjory without correcting people because it made life easy - on occasion I called her Marjory and she would just smile with her wry smile.
We had become good friends and when I had my children it was without hesitation that my husband and I asked her to be godmother to our youngest daughter Marina. Rosemary was worried she would be too old - what nonsense. She took huge interest in the children: when Brian, Rosemary's husband was alive they took them out on day outings all over the South East of England. After Brian had died and Rosemary's mobility was not so great she would have them to stay on sleepovers. Of course she spoiled them rotten and they loved her for this.
About 7 years ago Rosemary and I spent a fabulous few days in Spain staying with the Russian breeder Denise Whitehair, of Denillanne prefix. We had a lovely few days catching up with cat news and choosing a cat to bring home. Rosemary with her generous nature had come with me despite a fear of flying and as she often reminded me she had come to make sure I did not drive on the wrong side of the road - now I reflect about it maybe Rosemary really did not rate my driving - but in true Rosemary style she never actually told me so…..
In the previous 18 months before her death Rosemary had not been very mobile and she did not really make it to Shows. However she did manage to come with Marina and I to the Russian Blue Breeders Association Show last year in October. It was like old times - driving up the M40 talking cat chat on the way up, and reviewing the day on the way home. So many of her friends had been at the Show and so many people made a point of seeking her out and catching up with her. We had the best of days and it is one I will remember with very fond affection.
Our thoughts are with her daughter Louise and son David.


We reprint the following from Russian Cat Council of Australia Inc. Russian Cat Tales - Winter Edition 2013:

Hilda Blackmore of Yaralin Russians, South Australia

Hilda was born on 24th June 1917 in Brighton, South Australia. After marrying Reg, she lived in Yaralin Street, Klemzig and consequently named her cattery after her street.

Hilda told me on a couple of occasions that she wasn't all that fond of cats but one day in 1976, after she had broken her arm, Reg gave her a Siamese. However, due to health issue the cat was returned to the breeder. Later Reg brought home a pair of breeding Russian Blues and thus began Hilda's love for this wonderful breed.

She registered her cattery name, "Yaralin” in 1976, shortly after I had registered mine.

Her first two cats were Ramsallah Prinz Oleg and Ramsallah Olinka.

Hilda and I met at our first cat show in 1976 and developed a firm friendship with our love for Russians. I had the opportunity to work with Hilda breeding beautiful Russian Blues and Whites for many years.

In 1977, Hilda acquired her first White Russian, Ramsallah Polar Victor, and was eventually able to send a Russian White kitten to The Netherlands. Hilda was very excited and proud to export one of her Russian Whites to Europe. This Russian White kitten was the foundation of Russian Whites in Europe and re-established them in the UK.

In 1992, at the age of 75, Hilda and her niece Pam Warman, went to the UK and then on to see the progeny of her white kitten in The Netherlands
Over the years, Hilda won many awards for her cats on the show bench and many of her breeding lines are in pedigrees around the country and overseas.

Hilda was a very dedicated breeder and did much to promote the blues and the whites wherever she went. She bred her beloved Russians for over thirty years.

Hilda passed away on the 24th May 2013 four weeks short of her 95th birthday.

We thank and acknowledge Hilda for her extensive contribution to breeding Russian Blues and Russian Whites in Adelaide, Australia.

Sally Briton
Tyana Cattery


Frances McLeod of Arctic Russians (aged 97)

Frances was born at Circular Quay in Sydney on the 15th November 1915. Fierce fires were ablaze in the Blue Mountains and on the Monday a great storm blew up at sea bringing Frances into birth and rained galore which quenched the fires.

During the year 1915, the First World War was raging in Europe Frances’s parents still used a pony and trap for transport and her grandmother used a carriage to go to church.

Frances was educated at a prestigious Catholic Convent and later went on to finishing school in Paris, Belgium and Austria where became proficient in the languages of French and German.
She returned to England to live with her parents and grandparents. Growing up she was surrounded by Great Danes, Red Setters and Irish sheep dogs.

Frances spent many a time with her grandmother who imparted many wonderful tales of faraway places, exotic animals and people. One day when a lion escaped from the circus and roamed about her garden she was heard to say “Poor Lion he hasn’t got any Christians to eat!”

Frances lived through the Second World War in England as a wren in the Navy where she was wounded when there was a bombing at the headquarters in Plymouth. She recovered and went on to meet her husband who was a charming and very attractive Scottish New Zealander.
They married and had six children two daughters and three sons and one of her children sadly died at six months of age. Frances returned to the UK working as a nurse, and school cook and finally as a librarian at Oxford University’s Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

During her time at Oxford She missed the wonderful connection she had with animals and it wasn’t long before she was involved with cats again. The Russian Black and the Russian White now in Britain are descended from the Russian line developed by Frances McLeod (Arctic) from her Arctic Chumvi born in 1961, stated by her to be a white female kitten from a Russian boat and given to her by a friend. The GCCF registered Chumvi as AOV Foreign Type Breed No 26.

There is much documented evidence of her contribution to the quality of the Russian Whites and Russian Blues and Russian Blacks all of which she adored and took great pains to preserve their true bone structures, fur quality and temperament. She had some wonderful advisers and contributors to her breeding programs and would like to acknowledge: The Governing Council of Cat Fancy in England’s President Grace Pond. Miss Lee Meade of Meadliam prefix. Miss Handscomedge of Harvees prefix, Mary Rochford of Dunloe, Miss F Laugher, Kabbarbs Blue Iris from Sweden,
Lars of Finlandia. Mrs Alexander, of Vostok II. and finally Mrs Curtis Hayward, member of The Russian Blue Association. And many more friends and co breeders in Australia you all know who you are and were always much appreciated. She said without their help she could have done nothing but save two little kittens all those years ago.

In her eighties she was still breeding and rescuing animals, She lived to see the New York Twin Towers go on September 11th and wept at the thought that Third World War may have started. She retired soon after that and lived peacefully with two white darlings and visited her blues whenever she could. Her patron was St Francis of Assisi her namesake.

Along with her great passion as a storyteller and musician and all round entertainer like her mother. She was a little fighter for what she knew was right and I trust that her intentions will continue out into the world in spite of what Governments might do to each other as long as there are a few souls who truly respect and care for animals there is hope for humanity.

I wish you all the best wishes from Frances who is at peace.

Submitted by her daughter