The Racing Pigeon - 19th April 2024

19th April 2024  The only independent racing pigeon weekly - over 125 years serving the fancier

Racing Pigeon The only independent racing pigeon weekly – Over 125 years serving you the fancier £1.70 19 APRIL 2024 • No. 7376



John, Jack and Adam Cockcroft. See page 3


‘IHU09S120003’ 1st Club 4th Open Irish South Road Federation 1,204 birds 379 miles, 1st Open National (Irish Homing Union) St Malo, France 444 bird, 2011. 3rd Club 44th Open ISR Federation St Malo 2010. Owned and racd by Mr & Mrs Plukett & Earls, Bray Inv.

See page 24



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The Only Independent Racing Pigeon Weekly and e -edition Over 100 Years Serving You The Fancier Breaking news at

19 APRIL 2024 Issue No 7376 The Racing Pigeon Co Ltd, PO Box 12760,

Colchester, CO1 9TZ Phone 01206 250880

Editor: Lee Fribbins Production: Stephen Rickett Advertising, Subscriptions: Carly Huggins

THANK YOU Just wanted to say a huge thank you to all our donors / buyers that supported our breeder buyer sale not forgetting our two auctioneers who gave up their weekend to take your calls . Well done all. – From the Federation Committee THE ROYAL SKIES

The Royal Pigeon Racing Association NORTH WEST REGION The undermentioned club has applied to be Dissolved under RPRA Rules. And merge with NW80 Pemberton West Invitation Club. To the North West Region. Any objection must be made in writing to the undersigned within 14 days of publication of this advert. Orrell & District Homing Society NW84 The new club to be called ORRELL & PEMBERTON HOMING SOCIETY NW80 P A Murray 32 Willow Fold, Droylsden, Manchester M43 7BY

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This book meticulously pens the history of the Royal Lofts with a detailed look at the fanciers that have been appointed with the honour of representing the British Monarchy. It also takes a look at the invaluable role that the Royal Lofts undertook in both World Wars and the vital part that the National Pigeon Service played in providing communication and information that ultimately helped save thousands of allied lives.

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Around the North East WITH BARRY PEARCE

feet but once we blended our current family together performances have improved season on season. We are currently, like most, in the breeding phase of our season, we pair up early to mid January depending on the first race date. We only keep 11 pairs of stock pigeons and we float the first round from these under the racers. Our stock consists of Woodroffe Bros, Ceusters from Premier Stud, Lambrechts from Steve Foster and a couple others thrown in, basically good stock to good stock. We do try one or two new pigeons each year, we are always looking to improve and progress. These new additions get a maximum of two years to be winning regularly. Sometimes only one season if they show nothing with John being ruthless in his selection they have to add value quickly or cards are marked. Our main stock pair called ‘Stock 2’, are 100% Woodroffe Bros, they’ve bred 3x1st Section and 2x2nd Ssection both times the seconds were beaten by loft- 15 Rossett Walk, Park End, M’Bro, Cleveland, TS3 7LX

The subjects of this write up is of a part- nership that has combined to make a formidable team that week in and week out, is one of the teams to beat, and one of those team members is a man that I’ve know and liked for quite some time.

as put me behind schedule, I’ll submit Adam’s run down. I must add though that these lads and and lady for that matter, are no one hit wonders, and they are no ‘I am’ sort of people, far from it. Jack I asked long before this visit, and season that I’d like to come across and see their birds, and he always laughingly sort of put me off. But thankfully he relented, and so the visit was on, and I’m oh so glad it was, because I got to see and handle some very exceptional pigeons, with the star being the section winning top cock, and he was out all winter as a YB. But I’ll now let Adam take over, so read on people. COCKCROFT, SON & GRANDSON AND MR & MRS HUDSON The partnership was formed 2017/2018. Both former partnership’s, Cockroft, Son & Grandson and Mr & Mrs Hudson were very successful in their own right and would regularly see themselves fighting it out for the top loft in the Federation.

Another top stock pair.

Roundabout system, but if a hen is coming well the cock will usually be sacrificed and be stopped, this is also the case if a cock is racing well. Unless they both are racing well. Feeding changes daily/weekly depending on the forecast for the coming race, mileage for the coming race and the previous weeks workload. The feeding changes depending on what the pigeons tell you, if they look right in the loft, are they wanting to be out for the exercise. Are the hens fresh,

The Shotton and Trimdon Federation 2023 season top loft is that of Jack Cockcroft, his son John, his son Adam and the late Arthur Hudson and his wife Irene. Jack is the man that I have known for quite some time. Myself and wife Shirley, many years ago along with Jack, Jimmy Nicholson, Phil Coils, Keith & Matty Arkless, and the late and much missed Terry Craggs, we all travelled across to Dublin to judge and to be guests of the South Road Ireland FC, this as I was asked to present the prizes at that weekends presentation, along with judging, is right up there with my list of top memories. I asked Jack if after the success of the 2023 season, could I come across to Shotton and do a loft report, so with the answer being yes, one weekend in March I travelled across to see the lads. Adam has kindly sent a run down on what they have achieved over their time together, which I couldn’t better, so yet again, explaining that computer troubles Jack holding ‘Barney’ winner of 1st Club,1st Fed, 1st Section 4,599 birds Huntingdon and 1st Club 1st Fed 1st Section 1,479 birds Chelmsford.

John, Jack and Adam Cockcroft.

Plenty of land, but this is also where those BOP’s appear from.

The Cockroft team flew on allotments and this became unsustainable due to damage and fires to the allotments. So they moved behind the house of John, the son in the partnership and if truth be told the driving force behind the current partnership. After a couple season’s John was moving house so another loft move awaited. It was at this time Arthur Hudson extended the invite to race with himself and his wife Irene and so the partnership began. As any new partnership can attest a season or two was needed to find your

mates. Both have bred good pigeons to other mates also, a special pair. The cock being held by Jack in the picture named ‘Barney’ after his ring number was the year of birth of the next door neighbour. Has 16 Federation posi- tions in the top 20 of the Fed. He is from this magnificent stock pair and was 2nd Club, Fed and Section to his full sister the last old bird race of 2023. All racers (28 pairs) will rear at least one youngster and the hens will be removed at around the 15/16 day mark to leave the cocks to finish them off. Old birds are raced on the

maybe too fresh too early in the week etc. We look to exercise the old birds around the loft once a day for three days a week 40 minutes a time. We don’t train the old birds. Young birds, we aren’t a huge lover of young bird racing, we do keep a team to the side and train them heavily and send them to the come back race. This is simply to combat the losses we now see in our sport nowadays. Once split the youngsters, we usually aim for roughly 60 youngsters, are fed on 100% maples for a short time, this is simply to ensure they will eat the larger grains in the mix as some can favour the small grains the the detriment. After that it’s about giving them the nutrients needed to grow but also keeping them light enough they find their wings natu- rally and quickly. We do race the other young birds and we prioritise returns over results, they are however all trained heavily as we believe that to be hugely important for the experience. We have had great success with pigeons that only have one or two races as a young bird so we don’t believe you must race youngsters in order to create successful old birds.

Cocks section, some finishing off rearing.

A top stock pair, Woodroffe’s.



Winning Naturally by Alf Baker WINNING THE NATURAL WAY

The Older Breeders I have said before I am only guided by my thoughts when writing. Let’s deal with old pairs, those that bred winners the first time of asking. These are always your first mating, hoping that once again they will do the same, but one forgets the older they get the slower the progeny. I never rely on old pigeons to breed my racing team. By doing so you are inclined to overlook the others but one is always tempted. I am sure a lot of producers fail when they get past eight years old, because they are allowed to rear their own young. I have a pair of pigeons that had bred winners for ten years mated together, but after the age of seven years, I’ve always transferred their eggs under good two year old feeders. When pigeons get past eight they do not make the full amount of soft food that is required to give youngsters a good start in life. Not only do they fail to do this, but old pigeons are beginning to look for an easy way to feed their young, and instead of giving them wholesome grain, they start to feed them with too much water, which is much easier to regurgitate than peas. They become useless as parents like the wet feeders. Some pigeons deteriorate far quicker than others. Those that show a sign of rheumatism or have come through a bad moult at the age mentioned, I would not breed from. Although in the past they may have bred winners each year, they are over the top and past their best. After all, it’s the good constitution of pigeons that keeps a family together and these have shown a weakness at a far too early age, especially when you have pigeons half again their age full of life, that each year come through a perfect moult, no wonder they were hard to beat when they were on the road. Fanciers think deterioration comes through hard work. Although I have only flown two pigeons in my whole life that were five years old, during that time they have had to fly hard, and it takes a brave man to take good winners off the road at four years old, but this I have done for the last 45 years. I am sure it is why I always held my own and have never had to rely on old pigeons to keep me at the top. If you are not breeding one or two good ones each year when you have lost those that you have relied on, the loft is doomed. I never use small seed when birds are sitting the first round of eggs. As I’ve said many times, the seasons are changing, making the winter drag on to the early spring, and birds will come off their nests for it. Old pigeons know just how long to stay off their eggs before they get chilled. Not so the yearlings who often come off when you open the loft door. That is why I fill the hopper up, plenty of grit and water in the morning, and never go in the loft again till late in the evening. When on their first round of eggs birds need quietness when sitting, especially the yearlings, who can ruin a round of eggs by keeping coming off them every time you open the loft door, but after the first round they settle down and are no more trouble.

Chapter 16 Breeding to Type

There are many sides to the sport of pigeon racing that give one as much pleasure as the racing season. Foremost is the breeding season. Some fanciers have a knack of pairing two pigeons together and breeding winners each year, and this comes from success and observation over the years. When you have a successful loft, the winning genes are so plentiful I’m sure if you let your pigeons pick their own mates you would still hold your own, providing you have a basic strain as your family, and not as most fanciers do when they start, go to different lofts to obtain their stock. Just because you have purchased winners, or sons and daughters from them, does not mean you will produce the winning genes. On the contrary they will be different shapes and sizes, and last but by no means least, a different type. The latter, to me, is the main factor when mating two pigeons together to produce the goods. A big cock to a small hen, or vice versa, would be useless to produce the perfectly balanced pigeon that to my mind is most essential to win races. I would never pair a long-casted pigeon to a short one. Likeness in head shape and length are the main things when I mate my pigeons, using the deepest colour eyes, full of richness, never the same two colour eyes paired together for breeding winners. The violets to the red, white and blue, or the red pearl eye, which comes down from the violets thus using the same basic colour, the dark brown eyes to the orange red eye, again from the same basic colour coming down from the dark brown eyes. But by letting them select their own mates; although holding your own, you would soon lose the basic type you started with. It is this base which one is always looking for when one matches a pair of pigeons together, the pleasure and achievement would not be as great as from using one’s own judgement and from the result of study through the winter months before mating. Even if in your own mind you have matched a pair of pigeons to perfection, it does not mean to say the first nest will be what you were looking for. There are so many genes in a pair of pigeons and you don’t always get the right ones. I’m sure one cannot condemn a pair by only taking one nest from them, but must give them every chance to prove their worth as breeders, and that your judgement is correct. One must take at least three nests from them, leaving them together for the whole breeding season. I am sure that the longer they are together the truer the type. I sometimes had to wait till the final nest to get the type of youngster I had been expecting. Surely when you match a pair of pigeons together one always visualises the type they should breed, but as I have said, it is not always so. I stopped the mother of ‘The Laird’ at three years old. She proved herself by winning several prizes from the distance, but the type she was breeding was the main factor and she was breeding winners. I knew I could win with them before I ever raced them, as they were typical of the type I had held my own with over the past years. I am sure there are many fanciers who could kick themselves for trying to burn the candle at both ends. Good producers, even though they are excellent racers, are not worth sacrificing, as the amount of money they would win on the road is nothing compared with the amount their progeny would win and how much they would help to keep you at the top. The same applies to pigeons that win from the same distance each year, using the old phrase, horses for courses. I am now talking of races of 300-400-miles. Don’t be too eager to push them on. Wait till they become sluggish or cunning and you have had the best from them at that distance then push them on. These 300- 400-milers are not little fish, they are the middle cut of the salmon which is very tasty and to me is the ideal distance to call a race. Nine times out of ten these races are won by the most consistent pigeons previously over the course, and by taking them further too early in life you take the edge off them, and make them plodders. Too many 300-400-milers have been chucked away by chasing average trophies. I would like back some of the good middle-distance winners that I have lost at a final Classic, which can sometimes be called the graveyard for this type of pigeon. Not because of the distance do they fail, but it is the type of race they meet, weather etc, from that extra 100 miles, and when the true racing pigeon runs up against a heavy belt of rain, trying its hardest to get home it goes round it. Those that are some distance behind, reach the rain area when it has eased off or cleared up, keeping them on their line and leaving the early ones to fly miles off their course and forcing them to have a night out.

Chapter 17 Observations and Yearlings

Much has been written and can be read on the sport of pigeon racing, but one can never learn more than from observation. Especially is this true of yearlings after mating. All the years I have kept pigeons, my eyes are wide open looking for those yearlings that show keenness and are full of activity. I remember a yearling blue pied; the day after his hen had laid her first egg, he was bubbling over with joy chasing after everything even the sparrows. Other examples were two yearling blue cocks that I noticed were sitting at 7.15 in the morning when I went to open the loft up, although their hens had only laid their second egg two days previously. I am sure there is a good race to be won with any of these three cocks if sent in the same condi- tion. Among my yearling hens, I had two that, during the winter months I had to keep on parting, as they were always in the corner of the loft together. Although being parted four weeks prior to mating the birds, as soon as I tried to pair them up with two cocks, they went straight together again in one of the nest boxes and would not look at any of the cocks. So I left them together as my memory told me I had had this happen before, and those were the two best hens I flew that year. After they had both laid I took two of the eggs away and when the incubation time came I gave them a day- old youngster to rear and repeated this during the racing season. It is one of the great pleasures when you win with those birds with which you have used common or stock sense, or like the three cocks you spotted prior to racing. These one should not over- look when it comes to pooling. I know past performance is a guide to most fanciers when it comes to their final selection as regards to pooling for the Classic races. But, only too often the experi- enced pigeons are beaten by younger pigeons that are being put over the course for the first time. Nine times out of ten, you have noticed the younger birds’ keenness before the race, but we all rely too much on past performance and sometimes give back pool money the birds have won in previous years. I am always looking for some- thing else in my loft to beat the good old ones as I have proved over the years a good pigeon when first sent over the distance will pull out its best. A fancier once wrote asking what you do with a young hen that is barren. I know this is most disturbing especially if they are from your best pigeons and you want a round of youngsters from them. In the past I have had several young hens who have not laid their first pair of eggs in the usual time of eight to ten days. After this time I handle them to see if there is any sign of them laying, seeing if they are high in the rump, low in the vent, with the vent bones slightly open. Failing these signs the hen is given a warm egg late afternoon and nine times out of ten they take to it, even those I am doubtful about. After 14 days I substitute one of the feeder’s eggs which


5 has been boiled; if they do lay within the next few days the dummy egg is taken away. There is no need to mark the dummies as they will show up much darker in the nest. In no circumstances mark eggs with a pencil or ball-point pen as this will cause the youngsters to die in the shell. Those that have been sitting 20 days on dummy eggs are given a day-old youngster to rear and I have found that after rearing a youngster for about 18 days the hen has laid without any more trouble. Using a barren hen As I have said, barren hens can be most disturbing but sometimes can be a blessing in disguise for their racing ability. I have had three barren hens over the years and each one has more than earned its corn. In fact, the last one a few years ago won a new timing clock in an open race after I had put a pair of warm eggs under her three days previously. This is one of the benefits you get from barren hens, you can have them just how you want them. I mean in the condition they race best at, by putting eggs under them when required or putting a day-old youngster when they have been sitting the required time. I am sure the barren hens must reserve a certain amount of energy by not laying. By adopting my methods with barren or slow laying hens, the cock she is paired to will not take too much out of himself by continually driving, espe- cially if they are yearlings. Cocks at this stage and age are inclined to drive much harder than the older birds, thus using up too much energy. This with the small amount of food they eat during this process can set them back several weeks. I trust this helps my friend and helps him not to get too downhearted. The amount of setbacks one gets in the sport from time to time must make the novice wonder if it’s worth it. But Rome was not built in a day and according to past history the number of times the scaffold collapsed when they were rolling the large boulders to the top did not make them give up. When you first come into the sport you get these setbacks and think “why should it happen to me”, but these things can happen to the best of us. The longer you keep pigeons the longer you learn to live with the troubles and setbacks you get – like a bad race or being well beaten from a certain race. You act like a bear with a sore head, but before you know it the birds are away again, you time in a good one and you soon forget the previous week. I am afraid the newcomer or novice to the sport is often over-anxious, especially at the vital moment of incuba- tion and rearing period. Only once in my 50-odd years in the sport did I feel like packing up, that was in 1968 when some scum broke in and stole ten of my birds and they knew which one’s to take. It was not so much the value of the pigeons, but to think I had given the thieves hospitality and I had been taken in. It was only through my wife’s persuasion that I did carry on. When one reads of fanciers packing up through vandalism or break-ins by the lowest of the low, I know just how they feel!

BLUE COCK ‘FLASH’, NU69L19776. Winner of 7x1st prizes, 1st Hexham 247 miles, as a YB 5-Bird Specialist Club only two birds on the day, 2nd Stonehaven, beaten by loftmate. Sire the ‘Good Delbar’ and dam ‘Toey’.




Well, this is it. After months of testing, training, and racing over the Atlantic, the team is now preparing the pigeons for our next adventure, the semi-final. This is the make or break race, as fanciers worldwide are hopeful to see their pigeons return home to take on the final race from Fuerteventura, a double island flight, in the coming days over two stretches of open water.

Race day arrived with high cloud cover at first light, which gradually broke, allowing patches of blue sky to come through. As planned, the team prepared and liberated the convoy at 09:00. Upon liberating, the batch instantly got their line and cleared the site. At the home end, the weather was showing clear skies out over the Atlantic with very little wind. As the team prepared the loft to welcome the pigeons, they were joined by the Belgian agents Jackey & Jelle Creemers family, along with Roger Mertens, who were in Tenerife in preparation for the final. With the birds doing a similar distance in Hotspot 2

off well, with a few top positions, including 4th and 13th in the pre-selection training flights. While holding mid-table positions throughout recent weeks, today saw them back at the top flight. For 3rd International, we see the team of Emperors of Sussex. As first-time participants, they have started to shine as they improve on their position in Hotspot 2, where they moved from 5th to 3rd with another of their entries, ‘Rosario’, timing in at 10:20:57.30, Webb, Southwood & Levingston, Wales, 1st International Derby Arona semi final race with pigeon ‘Gorgojo’.

With the loft management making a last-minute decision to delay this race by 24 hours as the weather was more suitable on Thursday compared to the orig- inally planned Wednesday, the 351 pigeons were again basketed. Following an uneventful journey to the lib-site on the east coast of Gran Canaria, Abel Ledesma made his nightly update video, ensuring all was well with the birds as he and Goyo watered the entrants and left them to settle. Early morning clouds starting to break, prior to liberation.

Finishing line in sight.

receiving the 3rd place trophy and a sum of €500. Team England also takes 4th and 6th positions as Team D & S Field, who, sending just a small team, have gradually been moving up. They saw their pigeon ‘Phoenix’ record a time of 10:20:57.31 for 4th International, followed by pigeon named ‘Flash’ in 6th at 10:20:57.46. Both these arrivals will each get a prize of €220 for the syndicate in prize money. In 5th, separating the two, we see the nation of Cuba take 5th International with pigeon ‘Amini’ for Team Cuba Pigeon ‘Velia’ 2nd International semi final race for team Van Parys & Debusschere, Belgium.

last week, all thoughts were on a repeat or a little longer. However, some ten minutes or so prior to expectation, a small batch of pigeons were seen on the southern coast of Tenerife, not far from the old loft location of Guassa. As the team watched patiently, they took a turn and were seen head-on racing for the loft. As everyone watched, the birds hit the landing board and entered the loft. As what proved to be a batch of 26 pigeons trapped, it soon appeared as taking 1st Wales 1st International Derby Arona semi-final race, the Welsh syndicate of Webb, Southwood & Levingston, with pigeon ‘Gorgojo’, running through to record its arrival at 10:20:56.75, therefore claiming the semi-final winners trophy along with the €2,000 prize. With this pigeon pooled, the amount will surely rise. In 2nd place, winning the runner-up trophy and €750 prize with pigeon ‘Velia’, we have the Belgian team of Van Parys & Debusschere. Their entry in the early stages started

Here comes the first arrivals.

Emperors of Sussex 3rd International Derby Arona semi final with pigeon ‘Rosario’.



once again, we praise the loft management team for making such decisions to alter the race by 24 hours to ensure the best possible conditions and providing us with another successful result. Once again, since the Survival Race, the cross- Atlantic racing has been very successful for the Arona team with minimal losses. Therefore, it provides us

Recent visitors to the loft to watch arrivals. Above: the Henriksen family from Denmark. Below: the Creemers family and Roger Mertens from Belgium.

timing in at 10:20:57.45. A flurry of UK pigeons domi- nated the remainder of the top ten pigeons as the clock recorded in 7th & 8th, the team of Highfield Lofts, who are past Arona semi-final winners, had another good adventure with the arrival of pigeons ‘Mitra’ at 10:20:58.00 and ‘Highfield 373’ at 10:20:58.35. Tinks Treasures maintain a top flight position as they see their entry ‘Boo Boo’ take 9th at 10:20:58.35. Team Young Guernsey Boys syn round off a very successful performance for Team England in 10th with their pigeon ‘Chris 1’ at 10:20:58.40 Once again, with the leading batch of 26 timed in, they were soon joined by yet another batch of pigeons. And once again, like in the Hotspot 2 race, the pigeons seemed to make light work of the chal- lenge in front of them as the numbers increased at a rapid pace to 340 arrivals from the 351 liberated. So, Ryle Rockets, Wales, currently leading the King of Sprint Averages with pigeon ‘Dierdre’.

to be a tight battle, with the leaders now altering race by race. Following the final, it’s an English trio who head the competition with Team Kelvin Young with pigeon named ‘Kelvin’ on 39,385 points. In 2nd place, it’s the Highfield syndicate with pigeon ‘Highfield 373’ on 39,300 points, and in 3rd, it’s the Tinks Treasures team with another of their entries, ‘Romario Meets Tinks Pigeon’, on 39,275 points. So here we are, just one to go. We’re there at ‘the Final race’ stage, and while we congratulate all those who are being represented by their entries, each and every one of them are already champions in the eyes of many by overcoming the many challenges they have had to face during the campaign. At the live basketing, all participants who plan on traveling to Tenerife for the Final will have the oppor- tunity of handling their pigeons for the first time since handing them over to their respected country coordi- nators. A bigger opportunity comes to come together and witness the new Derby Arona Champion. So, as many prepare to make the journey to Tenerife, behind the scenes, the Ledesma family and Arona team will be ensuring everything is organized to welcome each and everyone to Tenerife and the lofts for basketing and the final race. The customary refreshments will be on offer, the live feed will relay all the activities in and around the loft before and during the race, and of course, the gala evening will put closure on this year’s series. Tom Harris

with an exciting final race on March 23rd when we will see approximately 344 pigeons going on to compete for the title of Derby Arona Champion 2024. King of Sprint Averages This has been a tightly fought event over the coming weeks, and as we go into the final, we see the Welsh syndicate of Rhyl Rockets with pigeon ‘Dierdre’ holding onto the top spot with 47,393 points. Hot on its tail is the syndicate of Tinks Treasures from England with pigeon ‘Happy Tink’ on 46,918, and in 3rd, it’s the Belgian syndicate of Van Parys & Debusschere with pigeon ‘Palitoa’ on 46,089 points. The King of the Atlantic Averages are also proving Team Kelvin Young, England, current leader in the King of the Atlantic Averages with pigeon ‘Kelvin’.

Carnival band and trophies at the Gala evening at the Mare Nostrum, Playa de las Americas.



The Joe Murphy Column

Received an email from Bob Carter of Hull who used to be a scribe in the ‘Gazette’ many years ago, he wrote; ‘Hi Joe, Just to say I enjoyed your recent article in the paper on Major A Neilson Hutton. Though no longer active in the sport my brother Roy and I still enjoy reading the fancy press. I have Neilson Hutton’s excellent book ‘Pigeon Lore' published way back in 1962. Did you

Charlie Cameron – Grampian Combine Average Trophy.

Bob with ‘High Degree’ and Willie with ‘Jackpot’, see text.

daylight to spare! Hope this is of interest, Joe, best wishes Bob.’ I wrote and thanked Bob for his email, and his kind words regarding my article. I remember him writing in the Gazette all those years ago, in fact you wonder where these years have all gone. My thanks to Bob for the above and I hope he enjoyed my book on the Dewar Trophy First 50 Year Winners. I have been having some very positive feed- back from purchasers and posted two out today to go to Canada to Brad and Mike and one to Arklow. The Canadian lads did a fantastic advert for my book with the Front Cover of this month’s book having the Dewar Trophy on the Canadian Magazine which goes out to the following countries: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Italy, Malta,

that you lived in the Kirkcaldy area? My maternal grandmother's family were from Kirkcaldy and I can still remember travelling up there with my mam in the early 70’s to visit them. I managed to visit W & D Ree of Broughty Ferry to see and handle their Champion grizzle cock ‘High Degree’ winner of 1st Open SNFC Nantes flying 642 miles. I think they got a surprise to discover I was still a teenager and they gave me a warm Scottish welcome. I even squeezed in a flying visit to the local pigeon club and got my copy of the Gazette at the high street pet shop in Kirkcaldy. A memo- rable weekend for me. Hope you find this of interest, Joe. Best wishes, Bob Carter Hull. I have attached a copy of photo of a teenage self, holding Champion ‘High Degree’ at the Broughty

Ferry lofts of W & D Ree.’ I wrote back to Bob thanking him for his email, his reply was,; ‘Hi Joe, Thanks for your speedy reply. I had left the sport by the time you won the SNFC so a very belated but hearty congratulations! Also, my condolences on your loss of your son Kevin, it must have been a terrible blow. I would like a copy of your book Joe, please let me know how to get one. I didn’t realise ‘High Degree’ was the first winner of the Dewar Trophy though I knew he had won it. I am attaching another photo from my visit to Scotland, with me holding ‘High Degree’ and Willie Ree is (if memory serves me right) holding Champion ‘Jackpot’ winner of 3rd Open SNFC Nantes in 1970 (he won 26th Open the previous year) flying 642 miles on the day with three hours of

Bob Carter, see text.

know that he was an early ‘Old Hand' in the good old Pigeon Racing Gazette? He was apparently given the elbow by the then Editor SWE Bishop (who also wrote under the nom de plume ‘Old Hand’) after writing that a good big ’un will always beat a good little ‘un! I seem to remember you also contributed to the Gazette when I was writing for it? (I did for a while, but my wife Margaret took over this task). I also seem to remember

Adam Golicki.

David Hay.

Davie Glen.

Graeme McKenzie.



Ian Scott.

Jim Fraser.

Mark Young.

John Wiseman.

Mexico, Denmark, Philippines, Jamaica, Romania, Hungary, India, Pakistan, Argentina, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, China, Japan, Taiwan & Thailand and has 45,000 readers and counting. So, a very big Thank You to Mike and Brad. Forfar RPC & Angus Federation Received an email from David Liddle who wrote, ‘Hi Joe, I hope you and Margaret are well. Below are details of a joint trophy presentation night which was held on 17th February for the Forfar RPC and Angus Federation and we also presented the trophies for the Grampian Combine. Unfortunately, our young bird racing season was ruined last year due to an outbreak of avian flu near Forfar which meant that half the club members could not take part in the last four races resulting in four of the average trophies not being won. The trophies were presented by Danny Henderson. The Forfar Club trophy winners were as follows. Davie Glen – Best Average first six races, share of Old Bird Points, share of Combined Points, 1st Melton Mowbray, 1st Kettering, Old Bird of the Year. Ken Droog & Son – share of Old Bird Points, share of Combined Points, 1st Ramsgate, 2-bird Old Bird Average, Young Bird Average and Combined Average. Ian Scott – Old Bird Average,

Angus Federation winners are as follows. C & G Cameron – Old Bird Average, 3 Longest Race Average, 1st Ramsgate, 1st Falaise, 2-bird Average Falaise, 1st Yearling Falaise, 1st Wakefield YB, Kevin J Murphy Memorial (1st Fed SNFC Gold Cup) and Fancier of the Year. D & D Hay won the Young Bird Average and Combined Averages. David Robb won the Ian Gray Memorial for the Lowest Winning Velocity. Grampian Combine winners. Mark Young – 1st Melton Mowbray. John Wiseman – 1st Kettering. Graeme McKenzie – 1st Ramsgate. C & G Cameron – Combine Averages. Regards, David Liddle. My thanks to David for the above and also for the photographs to go with this report. I asked David if he was going to continue sending me details of the Federation, ie weekly race results and he has agreed to do so. Therefore, it is up to the members of this Federation to supply David with details of their winners each week. I have given the Federation outstanding weekly publicity ever since Kevin moved up to Arbroath. However, with him no longer with us, it is up to the members to supply David with this infor- mation. I do my best to help out all Federations who wish to be in my column, the least you can do is supply the press officers with some details on

the winning federation winners. This goes for everyone who sends in their results, not just Angus Federation. Weekly Results If you wish your club, Federation or Combine to receive publicity on a weekly basis in my column, then I require all information to be into me by Monday night. It will take me nearly all day Tuesday to compile the column as it has to be into the office for Wednesday morning. So, it is up to you! If you have a photograph of the fancier or one of the winning birds then send them as well. The more information supplied the better and the photo will just finish it off. I have been sending my article in since 1976 and at the present time I’m the only Scottish scribe sending in a weekly article, so, it is up to you, if you wish the publicity. Please continue to keep the news flowing; to Joe Murphy Mystical Rose Cottage 2 Flutorum Avenue Thornton by Kirkcaldy KY1 4BD or phone 01592 770331 or Email to joejmurphy1@ REMEMBER THE J IN THE MIDDLE or log onto www.elimar who wish my weekly contribution portfolio on pigeon topics from Scotland .

Best Average 3 longest inland races, 1st Huntingdon. Adam Golicki – Best Average Ramsgate and Wakefield YB. Stewart Donaldson – 1st Falaise. Jim Fraser – Young Bird Points, 1st Wakefield YB, Young Bird of the Year. David Liddle – 1st Yearling Huntingdon. David Robb – 1st Darlington YB, Highest Winning Velocity and the Novice trophy. Charlie Cameron – Kevin J Murphy Memorial Trophy.

WITHOUT LIMITS – RACING YOUNG BIRDS Beautifully illustrated hardback book in full colour – 150 pages £22.95 UK including p&p

Phone 01206 250880 or order online at This book looks at the system and racing of young birds to win. ***** Best pigeon books I've ever read and I've read a few! ***** ***** Top Read ***** ***** Well pleased...I've started winning! ***** ***** Great books for anyone to understand the feeding of sprint birds ***** The third book in the Without Limits series written by renowned Champion Flyer, Pigeon Health Specialist and The Racing Pigeon and Racing Pigeon Pictorial International Editor, Lee Fribbins.



Essex Central Federation

full of good looking pigeons kept by Neal Martin who once again leads the way, taking home a further £55 to put towards the upcoming sales. Laindon’s Deputy Marcin Grzedowicz takes runner up. Gas Fitter Marcin doesn’t really need it but would appreciate the £32 towards the corn with four places in the money. Mark Cooper appears again for a third time taking bronze in class today. Another £10 goes to Mark. 37 hens on show next and Leigh on Sea fancier Ray Cole flying with Hadleigh club comes out on top with the fairer sex. His attractive blue pied hen in receipt of 1st prize of £20 and wins the £25 nom. Neal Martin, victorious in the Young Hens and Any Age cocks, settles for silver in the Any Age females category, £15 for runner up, and completing the podium is Laindon fancier Russ O’Cuneff who happy with the addition of 4th is £17 better off. A great show writes Steve and a good bit of PR with Barleylands Landlady, the ever welcoming Anne taking home the superb Turkey raffle prize.

Laindon Pre-Season Special

with his stunning dark chequer white flight earning £30 prize money together with the £25 nom, can’t be bad, well done, Mark. Second and £20 goes to four of eight on the day from a very tough Thurso, Alan Scarborough and 3rd but certainly not least Stocks finest Studman Fred Harnett. Moving on to the following Sunday we have the best of the Young Hens on show,

Morning all. Back to it this week but things have never stopped down at Laindon with Steve Smith and his club busy throughout the off season and with that I thought I would get to know the club a little better and document their efforts before racing begins Saturday. Formed in 1960 the club has 38 members for what is expected to be an ultra-competitive 2024 season. New members Vasil Balanuca, Charlie Simmons, Mark Cooper, Robbie & Andrew Wilton (D Wilton & Son) together with the incorporated Hutton lads, add even more weight to this mighty outfit, the Laindon Racing Pigeon Club. Looking for a suitable Transporter for their forthcoming midweek racing and

Three time club winner Gary Watts.

series. Beginning with old cocks through the wires and a substantial entry of 56 birds in class going under the expert eye of Hadleigh’s John & Gaynor Ashenden who together selected a handsome blue pied owned and raced by Brian Robinson who collects a nice winning card, £28 in prize money and to round off a lovely Sunday afternoon for Brian, the £35 on offer in the nom. Runner up was Russ O’Cuneff picking up £19 with the Thurso supremo Alan Scarborough 3rd and a tenner better off. Barleylands Social Club welcomes the club for the second of the contests a week later on the first Sunday in December. This time the turn of old hens, under the scrutiny of judge Andy

Three wins racing youngsters, David Coward- Talbot.

judging on this occasion was the respon- sibility of top fancier Patrick Mahoney ably assisted by Channel racing enthusiast Charlie Simmons. The coveted pair singled out an immaculate light chequer in the care of owner Neal Martin and he takes home the £25 1st prize and doubles up with the winner takes all nomination. Runner up is last Sunday’s Young Cocks winning fancier Mark Cooper who adds £15 to the kitty. Ten pounds and 3rd in show goes to the Old Cocks judges, John & Gaynor Ashenden. A fantastic 82 pigeons were presented to the fancy in the fifth event, an Any Age entry for both sexes. First up 50 male specimens for a superstar line up of judges to peruse. The

The Laindon lads kicked off early again this year with the opening Breeder/Buyer sale on the last Sunday in February. The first of four located as always at the home of the Hammers, Barleylands Social Club. With an early afternoon start an impres- sive 41 pigeons were penned and sold by auctioneer Bernie McDermott to a healthy sized audience of eager local fanciers keen to get a slice of the Bank Holiday prize money. Mother’s Day would be the date for the second opportunity to intro- duce new blood or enhance our entries in the Darlington Showpiece and fanciers from far and wide begin to emerge with Steve’s generous offer of no radius as long as you fly a minimum distance of 195 miles from the Durham Racepoint (4242) proving ever popular with the fraternity. 31 well-bred and lovely pigeons were added to the roster today by a notable list of our local and national winning lofts. Not a fortnight later, we have the long awaited Laindon presentation night, ever- more scarce compared to the old days when we all had an annual knees up, but they keep the fire burning down the south of the county with an excellent night of entertainment courtesy of The Foreverly Brothers starring the former Rockin’ Berries frontman and No 1 with Jive Club i/c Marcin Grzedowicz celebrates the new arrival.

Darlington winner and family man Anvi Januzi..

some improvements required at the club house to pay for, the club began with an auction with an assortment of pigeons coming from top lofts from throughout the country and over the water in Ireland. Bernie McDermott got busy with sourcing some desirable stock from the fancy to auction off and after a very successful outcome the club would like to thank Lenny Jenkins, David Coward-Talbot, the Ace Micky Harvey, Eddie and wife Sara at Central Lofts, Simon Shearsby from Dandelion Lofts, Duncan Goodchild, Kevin Foster, Deputy Marcin Grzedowicz, John Chipperfield, John Purton, John Gladwin and John Cowlin formerly Formula 1 Lofts, Dave & Gary Heywood, Micky Pawsey from Dagenham, Tidbury & Garrett, Anton Astore, Brighton’s Lee & Ian Sullivan, D Wilton & Son, Mark Bulled, Damian Szpak and Waterford global supplier Derek Walsh for their generous donations of the best quality pigeons that would grace any loft. With such a line up of contributors the target for the trailer and repairs was readily met and the club took possession of a brand new Geraldy in January. Well done Bernie. November and the club host the first of their popular post season Sunday show

Cousins who chose a lovely chequer pied well kept at the lofts of owner Selwyn Abraham and bred by good friend, family man Anvi Januzi. Selwyn bags £35 and the 1st prize winning card. Second & 3rd would be claimed by Russ O’Cuneff who takes home £17 winnings. Week 3 is Young Cocks and another outstanding meat raffle prize on offer as always to visi- tors including judges Lenny Jenkins and Andrew Foster who cast their knowledge- able eyes over an entry of 59 pigeons. Top of the pile in this class, Mark Cooper Two red cards for Central Lofts Eddie Butcher and wife Sara.

1st in show Old Cocks for Brian Robinson.

difficult task falls to a collaboration of sprint kings SIS Wallis, Basildon’s National winning Pat Mahoney, the pigeon legend that is Lenny Jenkins, RPRA award winning John & Gaynor Ashenden with another South Road Champion, Andy Cousins back again with his respected opinion. The All-stars settled on a pigeon from a loft obviously



Bunny, Terry Webster & Son Terry performing hits from the past 70 years and compering with good tribute acts to funnymen, Norman Wisdom, George Formby and more recently Billy Connolly. It was Terry’s fourth appearance on pres- entation night for the club and even at the ripe old age of 82 still proves ever popular. I was lucky enough to be invited to Bowers and Pitsea Football Club and my other half Kenny present the trophies, cards and amazing prize money on offer to the Federation’s largest senders. Sixteen individual members came to the rostrum beginning with Sellwyn Abrahams, picking up £20 in prize money and a card for his yearling blue cock’s well-earned 3rd Club, 14th Fed from Berwick. Farmer Frankie White steps up next with two cards including 3rd Club Retford back in April for his yearling blue pied cock pocketing £50. Darlington winner and family man Anvi Januzi takes a red card and £50 for his Albert Babbington Derricotte Janssen. Mickey Harvey is £70 richer with 1x2nd and 2x3rd Clubs, his chequer cock youngster a gallant 19th Fed in a hard fought Wetherby. Berwick Champions Mark & Jordan Lewis receive 2x3rd place cards

winning in August with one of his own progressive grizzle prodigy. With a 2nd and a 3rd to add to the tally Gary goes home with £220. Alan Scarborough’s versatility is prevalent, striking early on from Retford in April with a yearling Soontjen cock, twice in the Fed from Perth and his tough four Thurso pigeons from only seven Fed arrivals put him right up there in 2nd in the club Championship. Seven cards, the Scottish Averages and £240 for Alan which brings us to the Club Champion for 2023 and someone I enjoyed writing about earlier in the year after his magnificent, Fed victory from Wetherby in July. That day belonged to a lovely blue yearling hen with origins from Secretary Steve via Dave Atkin. Mick racing since 1958 keeps going from strength to strength winning an impres- sive five red cards this term, kicking off with all three Heremans-Ceusters on the podium in the second Retford in May, the Gary Cox blood appears in front again at our first Wetherby before our famous under age drinker tastes double success

a masterstroke and the club was packed. Treble figure bids were commonplace amongst the eager crowd and the prize money generated has already exceeded last year’s impressive £6,100 on offer. A fourth sale was held Sunday before our racing begins, with fanciers taking advan- tage of a final chance to get involved. Another well attended auction accumu- lated an additional 63 entries in this exciting contest totalling an applaudable 220 pigeons racing for £8,000. And we don’t stop there, an equally lucrative gold ring race with a prize pot of £2,600 after 346 rings were snapped up by 71 hopeful competitors, all this together with an open race that attracted over 300 entries the Farmer Frankie White, two top three cards and £50 later.

success in my early years in the sport and only racing young birds this season, the maestro still won both tough races in the Federation Wetherby Ace pigeon, collecting the substantial nomination in the process. Club i/c Marcin Grzedowicz has had a great season to reward his hard work for the club beginning with a bronze in the season opener from Grantham, 2nd Club the week after from the same race- point. Our highly skilled Gas Fitter 2nd & 3rd Club, Darlington in May, 11th Fed from Perth before an equally fine run with the youngsters including a nice win from Retford adds a tidy £170 to his sales buying power. Eddy Butcher and wife Sara get a nice round £200 for their winners in the first and last young bird races. The Central Lofts proprietors cleaned up in both races. Eleven in the Fed from Huntingdon and 2nd to 6th and a 7th in the finale from Retford. Best Young Cock Through the Wires for Mark Cooper.

from Grantham and Wetherby with the youngsters. It was my pleasure to hand over 18 cards, a lovely trophy and the princely sum of £590 to the veteran East London fancier . Steve told me there are other good members that keep the club running. Darius Dumitrascu, who when not up the club concentrates on long distance South Road racing, winning none other than 3rd Open BICC Barcelona last term but a great lad and BBQ chef adds Steve who finishes by telling me that he hopes to see more of Steve Maughan racing this year and the lads from Hutton, now Laindon members continue to enjoy their racing. I thank Steve and all the members for their excellent hospitality as my family and I felt most welcome. Great stuff, well done all. Sober again now but before we embark on another five months of agony and ecstasy, Laindon have two more Breeder/Buyer sales to get through and the third event would be one of the very best around. With premier birds sent over from the best of Northern Ireland, kindly organised by Russell Mcalary to go with some of the mainland’s finest we were all set for the amazing 84 entries on offer. The decision to host the event on Good Friday with evening penning from six was Any Age Hens Through the Wires winner Ray Cole from Leigh on Sea.

and £90 to go with their trophy winning Fenech Cooremans 2yo red hen. Auctioneer and scribe Bernie McDermott is on the other side of the mic tonight with a very well-bred youngbird winner from Grantham. The product of a breeding programme with good friend Pete McFarlane this lovely blue hen contributes half of the £100 seasons takings. The same reward for Steve Wright next for his first three youngsters from Retford in August led by his mealy hen an impres- sive 50 yards in front. Rambo Jason Reeve is equally happy with his successful season on his devel- oping system. His 3yo Heremans- Ceusters chequer coming out on top in the second race from Grantham, with the friendly fancier also 3rd that day to go with his runner up in the opener, £100 for Rambo. Distance legend Pat Newell takes a silver from Berwick, over 300 miles and comes into his own at Perth, 1st & 2nd Club, 4th & 5th Fed with his Braspenning cock flying for nearly ten hours from the Tayside racepoint. David Coward-Talbot, a name synonymous with 1st in show Old Hens Through the Wires and 3rd Club Berwick, Sellwyn Abrahams.

previous year it promises to be another spectacular bank holiday special. Open to any North Road fancier flying 195 miles or more from Darlington and libbed separate to the Breeder/Buyer and Gold Ring contests these pigeons will cost £2.50 per bird with substantial expected prize money subject to entries. Marking for all three races is 18:00 – 20:00hrs, Sunday 25th August at Chase Bungalow, Church Road, Ramsden Heath, near Wickford, Essex CM11 1PJ. Finally, good luck to everyone this coming weekend and I wish the club and our new Fed Secretary all the best for 2024. Lets get the wagon full. C L Elmes Grantham victor Jason Reeve has had another good season.

Chris Whiteside’s Sayers Brothers year- ling chequer cock was responsible for two of his three club wins and £200 prize money. Victorious from both Retford and Wetherby this fantastic pigeon made the Fed for a third time in the last outing to Grantham. Another treble winner follows on with Gary Watts laden with cards and prize money for taking top honours in the season opener from Grantham, again in June with his Alex Mackenzie Van Den Bosche beating 229 rivals from Retford before doubling up from Grantham, Any Age Cocks and Young Hens Best in Show, Neal Martin.

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