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The Tale of Camberley Kate

The Tale of Camberley Kate

It was a huge leap to move back to Surrey from the Peak District earlier this year. But one of the most exciting parts is discovering the new area in which you live, the history, the special little places only the locals know, the best scenery and most of all the best places to photograph. One of the most interesting stories that I’ve come across is about a Camberley resident, known as Camberley Kate.

 

The story books of all local towns and villages are filled with notable characters, charitable people, historic landowners, people that did great deeds for their local areas, and there are the eccentric and odd characters. Of which Kate Ward was reportedly one.

Camberley Kate

Kate’s fame spread far and wide during the later years of her life, featuring on a number of British and American news channels, her antics even led to a profile in Time Magazine and an Award from Dog’s Life Magazine for her life’s achievements.

So why all the fuss and fame for a village eccentric?

Born in a different era, in 1895, Kate was raised in Middlesborough, a Yorkshire-lass with a heritage that she was proud of. Childhood was not easy for Kate, however, becoming an orphan by the age of 10; after which an aunt with strong religious views raised her. As she grew older, Kate moved into a role of domestic service in Yorkshire, then eventually moving to Camberley.

It’s believed that she later became Head Chef at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and had strong links to the local area. At times she had also mentioned to local’s that she had known what it was like to be homeless.

In 1943 Kate purchased a house in the Yorktown area of Camberley, and that’s where the next chapter of her life began.

It was one of those days during the second world war, that the devout dog lover took guardianship of a lame greyhound that the local vet was due to euthanize.

From that day onwards, Kate dedicated her life to rescuing strays, filling her small terraced cottage with Dogs.

Kate had a love-hate relationship with photographers, take a liberty by taking a photo of Kate and her little green trolley filled with dogs without asking and you’d be sure to get a firm reprise.

On the other hand, as she made the journey to town each day with an entourage of dogs and her little green trolley, to raise funds for her rescue by selling Photo postcards and letting people take a photo of her and the dogs for a charitable donation.

If you gave her some money, she would INSIST you take a photo. That way she could not be accused of begging. Bless her. G.S.

Strong principles and strong values are what Kate was well known for, there had been a number of townsfolk that had tried to drive her out of the village, claiming the dogs were dangerous, that they were a hazard to traffic undertaking their walk each day, however, she won the backing of local police by taking the stray dogs off the street.

She was often outspoken and protested publicly, with her cause often making the columns of local newspapers, but quietly behind the scenes, she would pay the stray dog fines at the police station and build bridges with the police that collected her beloved dogs.

Camberley Kate

A great example of animal husbandry Kate would walk her olive green cart to town, along a route suggested by the police to keep her and her companions safe. Some of the dogs would run loose alongside the cart, some tied to the cart, with the older and infirm dogs riding inside. The pack would travel with a little meat for the journey and a shovel to collect any mess made along the way. Kate spent time training the dogs and they were controlled with the aid of a whistle.

The care of the dogs was Kates greatest concern, and local vet Geoffrey Craddock, an admirer of Kate’s work testified to the condition of the dogs and the great care they received. Interestingly, Kate’s ethics were shown through the management of her finances, she supported her aspirations from a small pension and generous donations. But finances were kept separate and the dogs had their very own bank account.

It’s reported that she cared for over 600 dogs in her lifetime.

There are so many great lessons we can learn from the life of Kate Ward, both as responsible dog owners, human beings, and as pet rescue charities. Most of all Kate recognized the value of a photograph and how it could be used for the positive influence of others, to bring light to a cause, and to help raise money.

To find out more about Camberley Kate take a look at a few of the links below.

Links: Unusual Life Miss Kate Ward Social Paradox
BBC News – Camberley Kate
Surrey Heath Council – Camberley Kate

Dog Photoshoot puts Worzel Wooface on the Front Page

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Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to have quite a few famous people, one of my favourites, however, has been the Dog Photoshoot for Worzel Wooface.

This stunning Lurcher is a spitting image of my boy Harry, just a beautiful sandy tan colour.

Worzel Wooface is a blogger and author of three, soon to be four books, during our day together we were tasked with creating a library of images for his latest works, Worzel Wooface 4.

Throughout the dog photoshoot we created hundreds of images across four locations, which can be used to paint different stories throughout his latest book.

Finishing the day, with the jumping shot which has made the front cover.

Worzel is still an enormous Lurcher with ‘issues,’ but his issues are now predictable. Now in his fourth year with his forever family, life is changing. As the children grow up and begin to spread their wings, Worzel’s world should be more peaceful. But as life rolls on, a changing of the guard brings new challenges; challenges no-one seems ready to embrace, least of all the cats.

An over-enthusiastic encounter with a fish pond, a blackbird with a death wish, and a new arrival all conspire to ensure that whilst Worzel might be ready for an easy life, his family has other plans.

Mum, long-suffering Dad, five cats and two grown-up children all feature in Worzel’s fourth diary, bringing together poems, letters and advice that Worzel’s beginning to wonder if it’s even worth offering any more.

The eagerly-awaited fourth instalment from Worzel, the literary Lurcher is funny, touching, honest, and very real.

dog photoshoot for Worzel Wooface

Dog Photoshoot for Worzel Wooface

“Mein Fuhrer wants you to Photograph his Dog.

“Mein Fuhrer wants you to Photograph his Dog.”

If I had been around in the First World War, this could have been the type of conversation I had with a couple of SS guards early one morning.

Stop for a moment and imagine the scene.

Standing in front of you is a man, 5ft 9in tall, dresses in a crisp pressed grey tunic with matching trousers, knee high black patent leather boots glinting in the sunlight. A long drawn face, sporting a fine mustache. Beneath the hair swept across his brow is the cold empty stare of one of the most notable dictators of the 20th Century – Adolf Hilter.

What could easily be described in a scene from a the RSPCA’s worst nightmare, Adolf Hitler was in fact, behind the façade, a great dog lover.

Hitler loved the loyalty and obedience of dogs, and through his lifetime owned a number of different breeds.

The German Shepherd breed became his breed of choice, with the most notable of his family being Blondi, gifted to him by Martin Bormann in 1941. Blondi was to stay by Hilters’ side right through the retreat into the Führerbunker located underneath the garden of the Reich Chancellery on 16 January 1945.

Hitler’s affection for his beloved Blondi extended to allowing her to sleep in the bed beside him in the bunker. The love of German Shepherd’s however didn’t reach his wife Eva Braun, who is known to have two Scottish Terriers, named Negus and Stasi.

It seems that like most men, the dog was the love of his life, Eva is known to have been jealous of the attention Hitler devoted to her and it alleged to kick her beneath the dining table.

german shepherd dog

Dog’s soon became a status symbol amongst the Third Reich, as their loyalty and obedience, showed them beside Hitler, the Wolf.

Can you find it in your heart to rescue a dog?

Well it seems that is how Hitlers’ dog ownership started. Again, not a catchline we are likely to see on rescue charity advert’s – ‘If Hitler can rescue a dog, so can you..’ But it seems his first pet was a stray white Fox Terrier, found during World War One, called Fuchsl.

He later went on to own a succession of German Shepherds, with names like Prinz, Muckl, Blondi, Blonda and Bella.

It’s said that Hitler was so scared of his beloved Blondi being captured by the Russians, he had his personal physician put her to sleep.

So, whilst I wasn’t around to photograph Hitler and his dogs, I really am glad that somebody was, as this adds a really interesting perspective to the history of the 20th Century.

Hitler was so impressed and captivated by the intelligence of dogs, that he truly believed they could help him win the war. We’ll look at this a bit more in another blog post.

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Winning Kennel Club Dog Photographer of the Year