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Keith Mott writes...

The Champions of Yesteryear - Part 13


of Godalming

Year after year Ron & Chris Cox of Godalming had put up outstanding performances in the National Flying Club and Combine, but in 1978 they won the ultimate in Combine racing by recording 1st open from the SMT Combine old bird Vire event. Ron and Chris' combine winner was a Gunn grizzle cock, 'Rowly Jim', which was bred from two of the best pigeons at Rowly Lofts. The Mr & Mrs partnership were Godalming Club champions in 1976 and 1977, with many outstanding positions in the South Coast and Surrey Federations. The main foundation of the loft was 7 pigeons purchased from the late G. L. Gunn of Farnham in 1957, when the partners had just started up. These Gunn pigeons had been successful for the Cox's from the word go and had shown their best on hard days when the chips have been down. Chris said some of their best birds were bred down from these originals, including their Champion Red Cock, winner of 41st British Section Barcelona 1965, 31st British Section Barcelona 1966, 15th British Section

Barcelona 1967. Also red cheq cock, '146', winner of 180th open Pau NFC and 1st Federation Nantes, plus a hen to win 63rd open Pau NFC and more recently a hen to win 11th open Nantes NFC. They had introduced several gift birds from Alec & Molly Martin of Worplesdon, which also raced well. They obtained four gift birds from Mr Chinnielinski of Woking and two of these birds won 1st Federation for Ron and Chris. Several Cattrysse pigeons were introduced with outstanding results. Their set-up consisted of two lofts, one 24ft x 6ft for the racers and another 21st x 9ft with flight, which housed mostly stock birds and some old favourites. The birds were trapped through drop holes and the lofts were kept spotlessly clean.

On my visit to the Cranleigh Loft the first of the stock birds to be inspected was an old grizzle hen named 'Rowly Duchess'. She was medium size, long cast in the hand and she was the dam of many winners, including 'Rowly Jim' and three other 1st federation winners when paired to the champion stock cock 'Rowly Duke'. The partners bred their 11th open Nantes NFC hen from 'Duke' & 'Duchess'. 'Rowly Duke' was a handsome Gun red chequer cock and was the sire of countless winners including 4 x 1st Federation winners. After looking at several other gems we moved onto the racing loft which at that time housed 8 x 1 st federation winners and 15 birds which had flown Bergerac on the day of liberation. I handled the dark chequer cock 'Rowly Supreme' and he was a firm favourite at the Rowly Lofts. He was a handsome apple-bodied cock and was the winner of 1st club, 16 th Federation, 28th open Combine Nantes, 1st club, 1 st Federation Exmouth, 2nd club, 12th Federation Rennes. Supreme was of the Gunn strain and was the sire of 'Rowly Jim', the Vire Combine winner. Ron and Chris ran their own Butcher's shop in Cranleigh and didn't find much time for training but the birds got an open loft on most days. The feed was a good mixture of beans, maple peas, tares, maize, wheat and barley which they mixed themselves. Linseed was given once a week. Grit and clean water were always before the birds. The stock birds and birds which were wanted for the shorter races were paired the third week in February, with the distance team being paired up later. The race birds were left to run together and were allowed natural love pairings. Over the years they raced the young birds hard and then raced them very lightly as yearlings, which wasn't the case with the loft's 1977 star 'Rowly Princess'. She won 1 st club, 1st Federation, 9th open SMT Combine Bergerac in 1977, previously having very little racing. Princess was a 2y Gunn blue hen and both her sire and dam had flown Bergerac on the day of liberation.

The partner's performances in the Nationals were outstanding as follows: 1962: 140th open Pau; 1965: 18Oth open St Malo; 1967: 63rd open Pau; 1971: 11th open Nantes, 56th, 66th and 123rd open Avranches; 1973: 80th open Pau; 1974: 146th and 181st open Pau, 19th open Avranches; 1975: 154th open Pau, 124th and 165th open Vire; 1976: 274th open Avranches; 1977: 148th open Nantes (Pau not flown in 1976 and 1977). Ron and Chris' performances in the Federation and Combine were endless but they won the South Road Federation Averages Trophy 1970-1972, runner-up 1975 and South Coast Federation Continental Trophy 1970-1972, runner-up 1976. They won the Surrey Federation Longest Old Bird Race Shield (1st Federation Bergerac) and the 50th anniversary Trophy (1 st Federation Weymouth young bird) in 1977. Many major trophies had been won in 1978, including the E. Matthews Trophy for 1st open Combine Vire.

As well as having an excellent year racing in the SMT Combine in 1978 the partners enjoyed a great season flying in the London & South Coast Combine with the Cranleigh Club. A wonderful blue chequer pied yearling Gunn hen recorded 2nd club, 2nd Federation, 4th open London & South Coast combine (6,272 birds) Rennes and Chris had named her 'Rowly Lady'. This hen was real class, being medium apple bodied,

with excellent feathering and eye, and her sire, a blue pied, recorded 15th open SMT Combine Vire in 1978. Another star of the 1978 season was the yearling Gunn mealy cock 'Rowly Pride' and he chalked up 1st club, 1 st Federation, 4th open London & South Coast Combine (5,422 birds) Nantes . His dam was the Cox's good red hen 'Rowly Lass', winner of many major positions in the NFC and combine. The partners had differences over the birds and Chris called Ron 'a pigeon hoarder', as he liked to save the birds and not overtax them. The fancier they most admired was the late Fred Seaman of Cranleigh. They said he kept a small team of pigeons but was always in the early times from Pau , Palamos and Bergerac in spite of Fred's illness. In 1977 he recorded 1 st section, 11th open Pau NFC and 7th open Palamos BBC and he was always willing to pass on useful tips. A true gentleman fancier, they said. When I visited Ron and Chris' home the pigeons and lofts were in wonderful condition and full of real class. The partners now live in Farncombe, near Godalming and still race their pigeons with outstanding success.

There you have it, Ron and Chris Cox of Godalming. My Telephone number is 01372 463480. See yer!



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