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Keith Mott

Three Borders Federation Alencon - May 2012

The Three Borders Federation flew it first channel with the SMT Combine from Alencon in mid-May and with the convoy being liberated in a North East wind the birds had a very hard race. The birds were liberated at 07.45hrs in perfect racing conditions on the Saturday and I must add that the weather on day and indeed the whole weekend was brilliant, but with the strong North East wind the Combine had a very hard race.

Mick Nunn and partner, Gary Bone, of the Spelthorne SRFC won the Three Borders Federation by 15ypm clear and at the same time topped the Combine with their good widowhood blue chequer cock, ‘Elisee’s Choice’. Micky told me this game yearling had shown some good form previously and won several other positions on his build up to his Combine win. His sire is their chequer cock, ‘The Doble Cock’, and he was bred by Peter Doble of Somerset from a long list of premier National and Combine performers. Mick purchased the dam of the Combine winner at the 2010 Three Borders Federation Breeder / Buyer sale for £35 and she was bred by Derek Read also of the Spelthorne club. She is now named ‘Derek’s Girl’ and was bred from the very best of Derek’s National winning family. This was Mick’s second Combine winner, previously winning the UBI Combine (2870 birds) in 2003 from Guernsey with his champion Jan Huybregts blue pied cock, ‘Aston’s Pride’.

 

Mick Nunn was born in the Gloustershire town of Tidbury and at the age of one the family moved to Mortlake in London where his parents originated from. This was the war years and Nunn family were moved out to the West Country, to return after the war had finished. Mick was an outstanding amateur boxer as a school boy. He had his first pigeons at the age of 14, in the garden at Alexander Road, Mortlake, but could not race then at that time as he had no money. Across the road from him lived the then secretary of the West Middlesex Federation, Lew Mendy. Mick’s dad worked with and was a good friend of the premier Barnes & Mortlake fancier, Les Elliott, and Mick was in his garden when Les won 1st London South Coast Combine all those years ago. He told me Les Elliott and Bill Watson made a big impression on him when he was young.

 

The young Mick got married in 1959 and after having two children he moved from Barnes to Whitton, which provided the family with a garden. His wife thought the shed he was building was for the new tools they had acquired, and wasn’t very happy when Mick announced it was a new pigeon loft. His good friend, Ronnie Harmes, who was a 2nd London & South Coast Combine winner at that time was a great help in the early days and he was with Mick when he purchased his first pair of stock birds at the RP ‘Old Comrades’ Show. That pair bred Mick’s good pigeon ‘20609’ which won a lot of prizes in the very strong Richmond HS, which had 45 members at that time, including Nora Major, Harrison Brothers and Fred Brooks. Mick’s first club was the Richmond HS which was affiliated to the West Middlesex Federation and he raced to a small two section loft, with good success. His birds were Delbar and Cattrysse which originated from Fernaud Bollgerts of Belgium. Mick recently told me, ‘Mons Bollgerts is not as well known as he should be in the UK and in 1968 and 1969 he donated pigeons to the RP ‘Old Comrades’ Show, including a son of ‘L’ Olympiade’.

 

These days Mick has a great partner in his good friend, Gary Bone, who has been an outstanding fancier in his own right for many years. Their present loft set up is a 24ft three-section structure, which houses the young birds, widowhood hens and the old bird roundabout pigeons. Deep litter is used in the loft in the winter months, being cleaned out ever two months and is used in the young bird section all the year around. They only keep a small team of old birds and these are raced on Widowhood and Roundabout. They started the 2012 season with only seven widowhood cocks and seven pairs on Roundabout. Gary is a stickler for routine with the birds and told me, they do not break down on their Widowhood system, but show the hens on marking night. Mick and Gary feed and use all ‘Gem’ Products. They have a small stock team of six pairs and these are mostly good pigeons they have bred them selves. The racers and stock birds are fed on the same ‘Gem’ corn. The partners do bring in the odd stock bird and recently they have obtained some outstanding stock from their good friend John Keywood of Hersham. They breed about 30 young birds to race each season and these are raced on the natural system.

 

Mick has been retired from work for a number of years and says his wife is now a ‘Pigeon Widow’. He recently said to me, ‘after my recent hip replacement operation, I would not have achieved what I have with the pigeons with out the invaluable help of his great friend, Gary Bone. He cleans the loft, trains the birds and keeps the loft on a good regular system. He is a great pigeon fancier and has given me some good tips on conditioning the birds. Thanks to Gary’.

The partners enjoy short and long distance racing every Saturday and are trying to improve the long distance side of their pigeon family. Mick says his biggest thrill in pigeons was when he won his first Combine from Guernsey and says his family saw him dance up the garden that day! He has no interest in the eye sign theory or showing his birds, but supports the local Spelthorne winter shows, where he won the ‘Best Points Trophy’. He has been a good worker for the sport for many years and is presently joint Secretary and Treasurer of the Spelthorne club. He maintains the main progress in the sport in recent times is the introduction of the ETS clocks. Mick said, ‘with so many aging fanciers, the ETS is a great help to them and saves time in the club business on marking and checking nights. It is very difficult to encourage young people in to pigeon racing, as what was once a ‘poor mans’ sport is no longer the case, with every thing costing so much money. My most worrying point on this topic is to somehow make the sport cheaper to attract people in, or it will die out. Stock birds, feeding, lofts, equipment and clubs are just too expensive for young fanciers, which puts them off before they even start’. Mick told me Derek and David Bellchambers of Brentford are the best fanciers in his local area and they have won the NFC and L&SECC. The Bellchambers are great pigeon racers and are always prepared to help anyone, especially new members and novices. One little point that the partners have noted is that, mostly their quietest and tamest birds have been their best performers.

 

The first ten in the Three Borders Federation result from Alencon were: 1) Mick Nunn & Son 1090: 2) Roy Barnett 1075: 3) A. Dann 1064: 4) S. Emans 1028: 5) M/M Mick Chaplin 1013: 6) Derek Read 1012: 7) Terry Goodsell 1002: 8) Vic & Lou Emberson 1002: 9) Mosquera & Last 1001: 10) Viv & Lou Emberson 998.

Please Note: The SMT Combine will be convoyed and liberated with the London & South East Classic Club at Bergerac on Friday 13th July. The Combine is now marking for this the longest old bird race on Monday 9th July and pigeons must be marked ten birds to a crate. The reason for the importance of ten birds a crate is the birds will be transferred in to different 30 bird panniers and are not handled, but re-crated via a tunnel system. This system is much less stressful for the birds, but can not be counted in to the new panniers. Normal only twenty birds are convoyed in these 30 bird panniers, so ensure the inmates comfort.

 

Well done to Micky Nunn on his latest Combine win! On a personal note I must say congratulations to my ol’ mate, Roy Barnett of the Esher club, who recorded 2nd Federation from Alencon. He is a great worker for the sport and won this race in the 2011 season with the same pigeon, rating very high in the Federation and Combine results both seasons. Well done Roy!

 

TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT.