After a distinguished career with the Kennel Union spanning forty years, it is not only with great sadness, but also with heartfelt melancholy, that the members of the Federal Council, the members of the Executive Committee, the Management and staff of the Kennel Union and the Members of the Kennel Union bid farewell to the Secretary of KUSA, Sheila Thornberry.
Sheila joined the Kennel Union in 1980 as the Personal Assistant to the then Secretary of the Kennel Union, Mr Robert Murchie. Under Mr Murchie’s mentorship, she was given a thorough grounding in the Articles and Schedules of the KUSA Constitution and received intensive training in dealing with the complexities of meeting procedures and mastering the presentation of agendas and minutes. When Mr Murchie retired in 1989, he was replaced by Mr Peter Collins, under whom Sheila served as PA until his unexpected death in 1993. By then Sheila had become well versed in the duties and responsibilities of the Secretary of the Kennel Union and she was able to seamlessly step in and hold the fort as Deputy Secretary for a short while. Her appointment as Mr Collins’s successor in the position of Secretary of the Kennel Union became official at the end of 1993.
Under the able leadership of the former President of the Kennel Union, Mr Greg Eva, Sheila acquainted herself with the intricacies of the Kennel Union’s operations and, after Mr Eva’s departure, dedicated herself to adapting to the ever-increasing demands of an organisation which had undergone imperative restructuring. The Federal Council, Executive Committee and the General Manager became heavily reliant on her unfailing institutional memory and her ability to rapidly recall past precedents and recorded decisions to guide and inform resolution of the numerous challenging situations which routinely crop up in the course of the Kennel Union’s administration.
As we say goodbye to Sheila after such a protracted and exemplary term of service, all her KUSA colleagues - those that shared her space in Bree Street, as well as those scattered across the country – wish her only happiness and fulfilment in her retirement and an abundance of pleasurable indulgence and accomplishment during the leisure years that await her. Sheila will leave us with her unique mark indelibly carved on the copious pages of a large chunk of Kennel Union history and countless will be the days that one or other of her colleagues will wish that she was still close at hand.