Needle Felting (Art therapy with my Angoras) by Rachel Dunscombe
I have been keeping rabbits since I was 7 years old (first rabbit was and English lop/cross called Loppy) I met my first angora rabbit a few years later, when the mother of my best friend bought a smoke (Blossom) so she could spin and knit the fibre. This was my inspiration for my love of the breed and specifically smoke. Several breeds later I bought my two beautiful boys Benjamin and Elliot from the wonderful Sally May in 2014.
I was sorry to hear the sad news that Ray Whitcombe has died. He was a lovely man who did a huge amount of work for the National Angora Club over the years when he worked as secretary in the 60s and then a few years ago until ill health made him give up. He was an active exhibitor of stock and products as well as an experienced judge in both.I have many happy memories of spending time in his company. Love to his family at this sad time xx
Ray Whitcombe 1939-2018
Rays interest in rabbits started when he was a child, as dinner not keeping! The elderly couple that lived next door to him sometimes shot rabbits to eat and saved him a leg for his tea! His first 2 pets were a pair of chinchillas called Ching and Chang that unfortunately escaped – he always strenuously denied letting them out.
His next foray into rabbit keeping was when he was doing his A Levels. He was living in Chipping Sodbury at the time and bought 2 supposed English does from a local market, these were returned a couple of weeks later as they were both bucks and fought like cat and dog! Next came a Flemish giant the lived for 9 years but it wasn’t until 1966 that his true involvement in the fancy first began. The parents of one of his pupils kept and showed Dutch rabbits and it was with them that he attended his first shows. In 1967 his fate was sealed when, whilst exhibiting at a show, he heard a funny hissing sound. He investigated and found a woman fussing with what he thought was a woolley hat – it was of course Mrs Pratley grooming her show angora. Ray was well and truly hooked and from that moment on Angoras became his passion.
He became secretary of the National Angora Club after the great Joe Holmes retired, stepping down only when he went abroad to teach. On his return to this country he picked up in the angora fancy where he left off. He was a breeder judge, he handspun and was products judge, a council member , Vice Chairman and then Chairman. He always attended stock shows and was a regular visitor at the Ewerby social weekends at Dennis and Sandra’s until ill health overtook him.
National Angora Club Stock Show held at Coventry 27th May 2018 and judged Neil Robertson. We had a very good entry for our first stock show of the year, quite a few different colours on show too. Congratulations to Richard and Rob , Yvonne Hobbs Fothergill, Michell Campbell, Christine Hamilton, Dawn Caines, Janet Rhodes and Savanannah (our junior) who entered and well done to cope with the grooming which is needed to do these lovely creatures justice.
Our new badges have arrived. Anyone who would like one please contact Sally May through the contacts page and the price per badge £4 plus £1 postage. These are pin badges but sew on ones are also available.
The breed standard of the national club for English Angora rabbits
Judges are requested to judge the coloured Angora to the Breed Standard as laid down by the Specialist Club and not to confuse the colours with any other breed standard for short haired varieties.
Points are the same for Whites except that 5 points each are deducted from Quantity and Quality of wool and allocated:
Solid Colour: 10 points
Angoras are unique in the fact that they possess a multi-layered coat. The tips of each new coat are therefore darker than the previous coat which lightens as it gains length.
This produces Banding in all colours. Rabbits should not be excessively penalised for lighter bands of the top colour appearing in the coat, but the more uniform the colour the better. White bands are unacceptable, with the exception of the Golden, which is of yellow origin and therefore has a creamy – white band at the base.
Chocolate breed standard
The breed standard for the Chocolate English Angora rabbit should be:-
- Rich chocolate on head, ears, legs and tail
- Body lighter shade with tips to match head
- Under colour pale chocolate
- Eyes to glow ruby red in subdued light, but brown acceptable
The breed standard of the national club.
- Texture as silky as possible
- 30 points
Wool Quantity and Length
- Even and full all over, clear to the skin
- 25 points
- Full and prominent on the chest and sides of the neck
- 10 points
Head, Neck and Ears
- Broad short head. Short well woolled and tufted ears
- 10 points
Size and Shape
- Round and snowball like
- Weight at 5 months approximately 5½lbs (2.494kg)
- An adult ideally not to exceed 7½lbs (3.402kg)
- Type and quality always to be taken into account
- 10 points
- Thickly covered with long wool, well furnished
- 5 points
- Clean well nourished and well groomed
- 10 points
Total 100 points
Eyes: Ruby, bright and bold
Legs: Straight, heavily woolled
Tail: Large and well woolled
Head: Wide across the nostrils, bold appearance, densely furred, wool to be long and thick between and behind the ears.
Serious Faults: Narrow wedge head, long plain ears, plain feet,matted coat, coarse coat, bad condition, lop ears.
If you have acquired a pair of angoras (buck and doe) from a reputable breeder and you have checked that they are up to the standard set by the British Rabbit Council (BRC), are old enough (about eight months upwards) and are fit and well. Then you introduce the doe to the bucks cage. If it is successful the buck will fall off. If not then try again in a few days.
The National Angora Rabbit Club UK Facebook page was originally set up for National Angora Club members. However over the years there are a number of people who have let their memberships lapse. Please can members renew as soon as possible to continue access to the Facebook group. Please send subscriptions to Sally May, Treasurer, before 1st August 2018. The cost up to the end of the year is £2.50. This will bring you up to date to rejoin as normal in January 2019, when the full cost of membership for the year 2019 will be £5.
Those who decide that they do not wish to renew will be removed from the Club Facebook page in August, as the page is for National Angora Club members only. Paypal email is firstname.lastname@example.org, cheques to Sally May at address in Yearbook or pm for address.”