Cath Marchbank

Welfare officer

Living in Lancashire, Cath has been active in STECS for 16 years and is our primary welfare officer. She has five dogs of her own as well as horses, chickens, and peafowl.

Cath is the first point of contact for all Scotties needing support and/or rehoming, connecting a network of over 14 rehoming coordinators across the United Kingdom.

She also fosters many Scotties on her farm where she assesses their temperaments and needs, helps them to overcome their immediate behavioural problems and determines the next steps for them to find their new, forever homes.

Cath says: “My interest in animals started aged eight, helping friends with their horses. Being from a large family we couldn’t afford our own dog so I used to call on a neighbour and ask if Jock (a wheaten) and Whiskey (a brindle) were coming out to play. When they got bored, they would take themselves back home. That was in the days when dogs roamed the streets and the dog pounds were full of Scottie-cross puppies.

“I used my bus money home, 50p, to buy my first dog from an auction. He was a Collie-cross-Alsatian.. After walking home, I told my Dad I’d found a pup in the street. He made me go and report him at the police station. I knew no one would claim him. I had to get a job to feed him and pay for his keep. So, lots of baby sitting and working Saturdays and afterschool in a butcher’s shop – the latter being handy for sourcing cheap meat for Rover.

My first Scottie was bought by husband Steve for my 21st Birthday present.

Elaine Core

Secretary

Scottish by birth, Elaine has lived in Yorkshire for 17 years now and is currently in Mapplewell. She comments: “I love walking and over recent years I have swapped heels for jeans and wellies and I love every minute of it.”

Growing up with Cocker Spaniels, Elaine adopted her first Scotties eight years ago – a brother and sister called Archie and Rosie. They captured her heart so completely that she converted to Scotties for life to the point where she admitted to her husband; “Archie is the love of my life”. Sadly, both dogs crossed the Rainbow bridge but Elaine has since adopted two gorgeous girls – Rhea who is six, and Willow who is just two years old.

Elaine adds: “I am new to the board of trustees but with so much help from the others I am getting to grips with all things STECS and enjoy seeing first-hand the amazing work that we do, and the many people willing to open their home and hearts to rescues.”

Elaine works full-time as an executive assistant for Virgin. She loves picking up the phone and speaking to people in the charity rather than sending emails – and this personal touch is already warming the hearts of many of us. Her Scottish heritage, organisational and relationship-building skills will be key to helping STECS going forward.

Gill Simms

Rehoming coordinator

Gill lives in the North-East and has been an active member of STECS for 19 years and a trustee for 14 years. She and her husband volunteered to help the local STECS representative carry out home checks but within months took over the North-East region where they are still helping rescues find forever homes. Gill also runs the STECS Facebook page.

Gill now shares her home with STECS Scotties Bunty, Robbie and George (who is a STECS Scottie cross Cocker Spaniel) along with new addition Cooper – a working Cocker Spaniel. Gill has represented STECS at events like Crufts and Discover Dogs.

Gill’s hobbies include dog training and agility. Gill comments: “My husband and I have trained most of our Scotties in agility. George actually qualified for a Crufts agility final and he even got a mention on TV as being a STECS rescue while he ran his qualifier”.

You may recognise Gill from STECS Scottish gatherings and the annual garden parties where she and her husband run the agility competitions.

Jean Hill

Rehoming coordinator

Jean lives in a village just outside Edinburgh and while recently appointed to be a trustee, she has been a re-homer for many years. She and her husband spent some time abroad where he bought Jean her first Scottie Fiona (Fi) who then went on to have a puppy – Gerti. When the Hill clan returned to the UK Jean joined STECS, in 1997, and adopted her first Scottie, Hamish.

Since joining the charity, Jean has adopted eleven STECS Scotties in total.

Jean comments: “Over the years I have learned a lot about the breed and the particular needs of rescues. They all come with challenges. The main thing is to always be patient with them and remember that their previous homes probably weren’t that happy. You need to take extra special care of them while they learn to do things that you would expect dogs to already know.”

Jean’s career was spent as a PC Design Draughtsperson. She has also helped out in the local hospice which she found very rewarding and said “It helped me find great positivity in life.”

Now retired, Jean still has two Scottie rescues – Angus and Fergus (Fergie), both four years old. She adds: “The boys are such great company and they give me so much comfort and love. And they are good at keeping me exercised as well.”

You may well have met Jean as she has helped out at the various garden parties and the Scottie meets in both Crael and Alva.

Jean concludes: “Every single Scot has their own character and temperament but they are all so loving yet at the same time really quite stubborn. But they all enjoy their cuddles.”

Margaret Mabon

President

Living in Manchester, Margaret has recently been appointed president of STECS. Margaret and her husband Paul have been members of STECS for ten years during which time they have rehomed seven Scotties and fostered four dogs (one of which was a Westie). They currently have four Scotties: Morag, Iona, Isla and Jock.

Margaret said: “When we first met Cath Marchbank she told us we would become obsessed with the little Scots embodying huge personalities – and she was right. We started off by helping out with cakes and manning the Tombola stall at various events, so we’ve probably sold you all one or two tickets in the past! We have also served food at the STECS Christmas party. I was given the honour of becoming a trustee back in 2017 and I have also had the pleasure of helping out on the rescue stand at Crufts a couple of times.”

Margaret continued: “I love baking and have started baking homemade treats for our Scotties. This started when one of our Scottie’s developed kidney problems, and there were no suitable treats for her so I researched what she was allowed to eat and baked my own. We purchased a touring caravan four years ago so our Scottie’s could come on holiday with us and they love it.”

“We love being STECS members and look forward to meeting up with the rest of the community as soon as we are all able to.”

Pat Smith

Rehoming coordinator

Pat lives in Brighton and has always taken in rescue dogs and has been involved with STECS since 2009.

Pat recalls: “I met a lady with two STECS Scotties on terrier racing day at a three-day event held at Firle House. I looked STECS up on the internet when I got home, and joined straight away. In March I lost Jock, an RSPCA rescue, and in June, after a call from STECS, I drove up to Dartford to meet Shirley Evans and adopted Betty. I told Shirley that if she ever needed any help then I was at the end of the phone. Two weeks later I got a call to foster a Scottie called Dougal for a week while Shirley was on holiday. Needless to say, Dougal ended up staying with me and was great company for Betty”.

Pat became a re-homing officer two years ago at the start of the pandemic, so things have been a bit quiet since then. Pat has had six rescue Scotties in the 12 years she has been involved with STECS, the shortest time was with Dilly who I only had for one year, and the longest time I had with a Scott was Nellie who was with me for seven years. “They have all left a big paw print on my heart”, she added.

Pat has recently adopted Winnie – a young Scottie who is settling in well with Pat’s cats. She concludes: “Winnie has been the best gift I could ever have wished for. She makes me so happy.”