The funeral of beloved dog trainer Gillian Simpson was held at St Giles’ Church in Balderton.
Gillian’s funeral procession received an honor guard of dogs and handlers at the Trent Valley Kennel Club, which she co-founded.
Gillian died in July after a fall in Stapleford Woods. The police did not inform her family of her death for three days.
Her son, Kevin Simpson, had to gather for himself that something had happened to her in the meantime, for which Lincolnshire Police later apologized.
Gillian’s beloved dog Pearl, who stayed by her side until she was found in the woods, joined the guards in the guard of honor.
Pearl’s commitment to her owner was honored in a special way, with her face engraved under Gillian’s coffin.
Before the funeral, Kevin said, “It was all a little confusing and it’s going to be great once it’s over.
“My mum had already made preparations for herself, she just wanted a quick funeral and so she had just booked the crematorium.
“But we have a service at St Giles” because I think it would be worth the extra effort and it would be a great dispatch for her, the service she deserves.
“I didn’t realize how many people loved her until after her death, and we had planned to welcome around 30 people but are expecting more.
“My mom’s sister, Hazel, came all the way from France, my uncle had cancer but really wanted me to be here, and her doggie club gives her an honor guard in the church. She was really loved.”
Gillian’s sister, Hazel Armitage, read a moving eulogy, describing Gillian’s life and love for animals: “Gillian has always been interested in animals, bringing in little birds that have fallen from the nest along with dry frogs and newts, and tadpoles that have been caught in Houghton Stream.
“There have always been pets in our lives including cats, tortoises, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits.”
“As a teenager, she supplemented her allowance by taking other people’s dogs for walks.”
When Jillian and her late husband Denise got married, they welcomed bunnies, cats, and dogs alongside their children, Katherine and Kevin.
She also ran a successful dog grooming business and fell in love with the Boxer dogs, which she exhibited and bred, at least one of them winning championship awards. She also bred a Pomeranian and won Best Pup at Crufts.
Jillian co-founded the Trent Valley Dog Training Club with Jillian Riley and became one of the obedience trainers. He later became a head coach and a member of the agility team, and traveled to perform.
“Gillian judged the boxers and was very knowledgeable about the dynasty. When I stopped showing up, you could still see her on the side of the ring and lend a helping hand to the kids with her vast knowledge.” Hazel said.
“I went on to do a lot for the club, became an Examiner for the Good Citizen scheme at the Kennel Club, took auditions at the club and also took auditions at the famous All about Dogs which was held at the Newark Showground.
“The other side of Jillian was the fun side, dressing up Father Christmas at Christmas parties and organizing games. So much of the club was lost.
“But most of all, to her family; she was a sister, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, a grandmother; and to her family, that is what we miss the most.”
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