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The Greyhound Board of Great Britain is pleased to announce that Gemma Byford, of Professional Trainer Norah McEllistrim’s Hove attached kennel has won the Kennelhand of the Year Award for 2015. Gemma will collect the £500 first prize and BAGS-sponsored trophy on Sunday 24th January at the Greyhound of the Year Awards at the Lancaster London Hotel.


The GBGB issued a call for nominations in early December and, as is typical with this award, the response was once again outstanding, highlighting the esteem and respect felt for kennelhands from owners and trainers. An expert judging panel comprising Channel 4’s Tanya Stevenson, Jonathan Hobbs of the Racing Post, GBGB Manager of Welfare and Integrity Services Duncan Gibson, RGT Operations Manager Jo Blake and ex trainer and Head of Croftview RGT branch Cheryl Miller deliberated over a significant number of nominations before unanimously agreeing that Gemma should be this year’s winner.


Gemma first received a kennelhands licence in 2003 and has been with Norah McEllistrim throughout her career. Norah said of her winning Assistant Trainer:


“Gemma used to come down with her mother, who worked for me, and help at weekends before she left school.


She really is exceptional and cares for the dogs but also works tremendously hard. She’s happy to put in the extra hours and often stays behind to let the dogs out.

She treats each dog as an individual and is careful and contentious and she is very good at grooming and spotting injuries.

I’m really pleased Gemma has won the award as you don’t get many like her and I’m very lucky to have her on the staff”


Such was the standard of entrants, that this year three runners up prizes have been awarded who will each receive a prize of £200. These went to Melissa Solkhon, kennelhand to Crayford trainer Dean Childs, Sid Huett of Champion Trainer Mark Wallis’s kennel and Angela Harrison, of Newcastle trainer Jimmy Wright’s kennel.