Johanna Beumer MBE: Muswell Hill greyhound pioneer dies from Covid

Johanna helped save more than 5,000 dogs 

Johanna helped save more than 5,000 dogs - Credit: Greyhound Trust

A Muswell Hill woman who dedicated her life to the rehoming of ex-racing greyhounds has died from Covid-19 at the age of 76.  

Johanna Liseta Beumer helped house more than 5,000 dogs over more than 40 years after setting up Whittingham Kennels in Waltham Abbey, and she was instrumental in forming the Greyhound Trust. 

In 2007 Johanna, who lived in Muswell Hill all her life, was awarded an MBE for her services to the welfare of greyhounds. 

Prior to that, she was deputy headmistress at Whittingham School while her mother Rosa Beumer was at the helm. Johanna taught a number of subjects for more than 30 years.   

Greyhounds became a prominent feature of the school in Muswell Hill Road, and Johanna’s own racing dog, Sailor – much loved by the pupils – attended classes alongside the teacher. 

Johanna ensured greyhounds weren't euthanised after finishing their racing careers

Johanna ensured greyhounds weren't euthanised after finishing their racing careers - Credit: Greyhound Trust

Sailor’s racing name was “SS Liseta”, a reference to the ship upon which Johanna's father worked as a Dutch naval officer. 

After Whittingham School closed in 1995, Johanna – despite using a wheelchair and having various health problems – welcomed language students from around the world into her home.  

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Her work in helping set up the Greyhound Trust came after she discovered that many dogs were euthanised once past their racing career.  

Johanna started by renting kennels from trainers, before going on to found Whittingham Kennels, which takes in dogs directly to look after ex-racing greyhounds. 

Johanna Beumer receiveing her MBE from The Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2007

Johanna Beumer receiveing her MBE from The Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2007 - Credit: PA

Johanna, Whittingham Kennels and her greyhounds appeared on television and radio programmes over the years, all in an effort to find homes for as many greyhounds as possible.   

With thousands of racing greyhounds retiring across the country each year, Johanna helped find loving homes for the dogs to enjoy once their competition days were over. 

She ensured Whittingham Kennels adopted strict criteria to only place dogs in the most suitable homes, and she helped organise a monthly gathering at Alexandra Palace for those rehoused in north London. 

Johanna died on January 24 from Covid-19 at the Royal Free Hospital.  

Johanna Beumer (1944-2021)

Johanna Beumer (1944-2021) - Credit: PA