Olivia Henson RIP

With heavy hearts, we share the news of the passing of our friend, Olivia Henson. Olivia left us late last night after a long battle with illness.

She  was always immaculately presented despite this – and most would not have even known about her illness unless she had chosen to tell you. She never complained about her condition and always put other people first.

While you may not be familiar with her name, Olivia was the chief fundraiser extraordinaire for ISRANDR, tirelessly raising thousands of pounds for the welfare of Irish setters in our rescue for decades. Her dedication earned her a well-deserved trophy for her outstanding efforts.

Her journey with the rescue began in 1981, when she picked up her first dog from a police station. From that moment, she dedicated her life to helping our beloved red setters. Even at the age of 75, she fearlessly took part in a sponsored skydive to raise money for the rescue. Even as recently as September had to be talked out of taking a terrifying zipline across a quarry in Wales.                                                                                  

Olivia had a tenacity for ensuring every penny possible was raised for the dogs; Woe betide you if you sold something too cheap at a fundraiser. She was always carrying around a book of raffle tickets and would try and sell them to anyone she saw.

Her commitment extended beyond just fundraising though. She served on the committee for rescue for over 20 years, and also on the committee for the Irish Setter Club of Wales. She was very proud of the fact that she was a championship judge for Irish setters.

Olivia was our friend, a strong and fiercely private woman who never tolerated nonsense or things being done in a sub par way. Her first words to me were, ‘and who are you?!’ Yet, she had a deep love for her dogs and remained dedicated to them until her last days, taking them to fields just weeks ago. They are now in safe and caring hands.

When I visited Olivia in the hospice a few days ago, I was moved to find the only personal item she had was a framed certificate from ISBC, bestowing upon her an honorary membership to the club she had supported so passionately for years. Her pride in that certificate reflects the person she was.

We had the opportunity to celebrate her 80th birthday at Stoneleigh in April where she drew her last raffle ticket for rescue

There won’t be another Olly. We will miss you, but never forget.

Rest in peace, dear friend, and may your legacy live on.

We extend our heartfelt condolences from all of us at rescue

At Olivia’s request, her funeral will be a private affair.