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“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.

 LOOKING BACK OVER THE YEARS (PART 8.)

 

The late, great Eric Cannon of Godalming

At the 1999 National Flying Club prize presentation held at Bedford, my good friends, Eric and Pat Cannon of Wormley, were presented with their fourth N.F.C. Pau Certificate of Merit, which is won by a pigeon that has taken three positions in the first 100 open in the Pau Grand National result. Their fourth certificate winner was the blue hen, Champion ‘Culmer Bess’, whose record reads, 1996: 4th section, 47th open Pau / Saintes, 1997: 2nd section, 6th open Pau, 1998: 170th open Pau, 1999: 2nd section, 26th open Pau, to lift the Certificate of Merit. A wonderful hen! ‘Culmer Bess’ is a daughter of one of Eric’s N.F.C. Pau section winners, ‘Culmer Joan’, and a cock obtained from Michael Spencer of Clitheroe. The Cannon / Spencer cross proved to be an excellent one, with ‘76956’, a brother to ‘Culmer Bess’, winning 1st in the very strong Godalming club from Nantes, 17th open N.F.C. Pau, 184th open N.F.C. Pau, 161st open N.F.C. Pau / Saintes.

 

 

The Cannon loft won its previous N.F.C. Pau merit award with the champion blue hen, ‘Culmer Channel Queen’ and she recorded 364th open Young Bird National, 9th section, 98th open Pau, 3rd section, 29th open Pau, 5th section, 23rd open Pau, 14th section, 183rd open Pau. Another fantastic pigeon! She was a direct daughter of the champion stock cock, ‘Culmer Producer’, sire of many good Pau pigeons and son of ‘Culmer Pat’, when paired to a son of Tom Gilbertson’s ‘Treble Five’. The champion hen, ‘Culmer Pat’, won 27th, 80th and104th open Pau N.F.C. for the late Gerald Stovin and was dam of his 1st open N.F.C. Pau winner. ‘Culmer Pat’ was bred by Gerald Stovin from two Cannon pigeons and was gifted back to Eric before Gerald’s untimely death from cancer. The dam of ‘Culmer Channel Queen’ was ‘27444’ and she scored in three Pau Nationals, recording 70th, 298th and 507th open, and her dam was ‘Culmer Joan’. A brilliant family of long-distance pigeons!

 

 

Eric started to keep pigeons in his early school days, with his first birds costing only a few pence each and trained his birds on a pushbike. He joined the local Godalming club as a junior member. The club comprised of some the best N.F.C. members, such as L. Raynford, winner of 2nd open San Sebastian in 1935, F. Seaman, winner 2nd open Mirande in 1937, H. H. Boshier, winner 4th open Mirande in 1938 and 2nd open Mirande in 1939, J. Pattman, winner of 5th open San Sebastian and C. R. Gush, who recorded 8th, 11th, 17th, 18th and 21st open from San Sebastian. Growing up with fanciers of this calibre enabled Eric to learn the trade of long-distance racing. He always maintained that these great fanciers would take only one position inland to give novices encouragement and would always congratulate the youngsters when they won a prize card.

 

 

Eric had to pack up pigeons due to four years in the Army, on war service and after picking up a bad foot injury, he met his wife, Pat, a nurse at a war time hospital in Liverpool. One of Eric’s best pigeons after the war was the dark chequer hen, ‘Circle Queen’. She was a late bred in 1949, bred by the outstanding Godalming fancier, the late Stan Edgington, who won everything in Combine and National racing. The name Edgington has long been connected to the fancy of the Godalming and Guildford countryside and it all started with Harold Edgington who passed away in 1961. Harold started up in pigeons in 1924 and was one of the founder members of the Godalming & District F.C. and was the secretary for 20 years. His son, Stan, started up with pigeons from Fred Seaman of Woking in 1932 and inherited his father’s gift for racing pigeons. We called Stan, “the birds man of Eashing”, because he loved all birds and had lots of aviaries in his big back garden.

He was a first-class carpenter and joiner, owning his own building firm. “Circle Queen” was one of the first pigeons Eric raced on coming out of the army after the war and she was outstanding on the north and south roads. In 1949 flew Doncaster, 1950: flew three races through to Berwick, 1951: clocked from the N.F.C. Pau, 1952: clocked from Libourne, 1953: 171st. open N.F.C. San Sebastian, 1954: 136th open N.F.C. Pau, 1955: 112th open N.F.C. Pau, 1956: 7th British Section, 120th International Barcelona. “Circle Queen” was the start of 50 years of fantastic long-distance pigeon racing by Eric Cannon.

 

 

His family of pigeons started in 1950, when he purchased a blue chequer hen, ’50 – 1753’, from Mr. Wiggins of Ipswich, costing him 30 shillings, her dam being a big winner from Lerwick. This wonderful hen was dam and grand dam of 34 pigeons to score in channel races. One season, Eric paired a daughter and a grandson of ‘The Wiggins Hen’ and they produced Eric’s champion hen, ’Pat’, winner of 1st open Combine Bordeaux, 35th open Combine Bordeaux and 73rd open N.F.C. Nantes. ‘Pat’ was the dam of ‘St. Swithin’, winner of 1st open Combine Bordeaux, 8th open Combine Bordeaux and many more premier positions.

The sire of ‘St. Swithin’ was bred by Mr. H. J. Chandler off a pair of big winners at Thurso and Lerwick. Eric’s family of long-distance pigeons went back to the originals although he brought in a cross every now and then, but Eric always thought it better to have a family of pigeons, providing the base is sound. One of the best crosses was ‘The Challen Hen’, a pigeon bred in 1971. She bred ten pigeons to score at Pau (540 miles) and a daughter of this champion bred Cyril Medway’s 1st open Palamos B.B.C. winner. Another premier cross for the Cannon loft was the blue hen called ‘The Wood Hen’, a daughter of Mr. Wood of Horsham’s, ‘Pride of Sussex’, a big N.F.C. winner. ‘The Wood Hen’ was the dam of Eric’s champion blue hen ‘Blue Bird’ and she won, 98th open Young Bird National, 247th open N.F.C. Nantes, 1st section, 6th open N.F.C. Pau, 1st section, 28th open N.F.C. Pau, 57th, 118th and 251st open N.F.C. Pau. Another champion daughter of ‘The Wood Hen’ was the blue hen, ’Culmer Lady’, winner of 26th, 27th, 48th,135th and 140th open N.F.C. Pau and she was Eric’s first N.F.C. Pau Certificate of Merit award winner.

 

 

The wonderful ‘Culmer Lady’ is the grand dam of Champion ‘Culmer Gold’, who won 21st, 70th, 83rd, 103rd and 111th open N.F.C. Pau, 163rd open N.F.C. Nantes, winning Best Average Nantes and Pau, 1st Club, 3rd Federation, 9th open Combine (5,049 birds) Niort, 1st Club, 3rd Federation, 11th open Combine (4,248 birds) Bergerac and was the winner of the Cannon’s second N.F.C. Pau Certificate of Merit award. Eric also used some of the best of Fear Brothers’ bloodlines and one cock crossed into Eric’s family produced the champion breeding red cock, ‘Culmer Sam’, who won 6th, 6th and 8th section N.F.C. Nantes and 89th open N.F.C. Pau. When this great cock was stopped for stock, he proved to be a champion breeder, producing many premier racers, including ‘Culmer Rose’, winner of 30th, 56th, 389th and 541st open N.F.C. Pau. This wonderful red hen was dam of ‘Culmer Joan’, winner of 1st section, 12th open N.F.C. Pau and grand dam of Champion ‘Culmer Bess’, Eric’s fourth Pau Merit Award winner.

 

The Cannon pigeons were raced on the natural system with the Pau Grand National in mind, but Eric rated the widowhood system for races up to 400 miles. The birds were paired in mid- March, with the date being worked back from the Pau National, so the birds got a natural cycle up to the race. The shorter races were used for training and the birds were tossed along the south coast. Eric maintained it didn’t matter where the birds were trained from, for if they were super fit, their minds would be right. Eric remarked that he enjoyed Combine racing years ago, but in later years all his energy was spent on the National races.

 

 

In spite of that, the loft won 1st Combine four times in recent years, with the blue chequer hen, ‘Pat’, winner of 1st open London S.R. Combine Bordeaux, grizzle cock, ‘St. Swithin’, winner of 1st open London S.R. Combine Bordeaux, dark chequer cock, ‘Evil Eye’, winner of 1st open London S.R. Combine Le Mans and the champion blue hen, ‘Culmer Lass’, winner of 1st open S.M.T. Combine Bergerac, only bird on the day of liberation in the Combine. The Cannons won the Surrey Federation’s longest old bird race shield outright for winning it three times. Eric’s most recent Combine winner, ‘Culmer Lass’, went on to win 1st section, 12th open N.F.C. Pau the year after her Combine win. This game hen also won two more positions from the Pau National, plus 49th open N.F.C. Nantes and is the grand dam of Champion ‘Culmer Marion’, 1st open N.F.C. Sartilly in 1990.

The loft was a converted 48ft x 12ft stable divided into four sections and Eric thought one of the most important items of good loft design is good ventilation. The Cannons had a really bad hawk problem, living in the Surrey countryside, so early in 1999 Eric and I built a massive 48ft wire flight in front of the loft, so the birds could come out and bathe, but still be protected from the bandits in the sky. He liked to change the birds’ diet from time to time, but mostly a good mixture of beans, wheat and maize was fed. His race team was his old family of pigeons he had since the war, with the odd cross in from time to time. When bringing in a cross he looked for pedigree of work, long lines of distance winning pigeons and not fancy ring numbers.

 

 

I was working through some old photographs recently and came across a picture of Eric’s old champion, ‘Culmer Gold’. On viewing this handsome blue cock’s photograph, it made me reflect on his wonderful racing record and I wondered to myself how you measure to find the best when it comes to racing pigeons. Performance, I suppose. The great ‘Culmer Gold’, never won the Combine or National race, some might say, Ah, but he was super consistent in the fierce competition of our supreme English specialist organisation, the National Flying Club. My ol’ mate, Eric, had countless champions in his lifetime in pigeon racing, including 1st open N.F.C., but ‘Culmer Gold’, was his favourite and I think probably his greatest champion of them all.

A once in a lifetime pigeon winning, 21st, 70th, 83rd,103rd and 111th open N.F.C. Pau (540 miles), winning the N.F.C. Pau Merit Award and in one season recorded 163rd open N.F.C. Nantes to win the best Average from Nantes and Pau, plus two premier Combine positions. A brilliant performance! Champion ‘Culmer Gold’ was sired by blue cock, ’40799’, one of Eric’s premier stock cocks in the 1980’s and a full brother to the champion blue cock, ‘Culmer Lad’, who flew Pau ten times and was in the N.F.C. result eight times, to record 22nd, 37th, 227th, 346th, 373rd, 467th, 614th and 761st open. ‘Culmer Lad’ also scored in two others N.F.C. races, putting 10 National positions to his name and he was also an outstanding breeding pigeon, being the sire of several premier N.F.C. pigeons, and was grandsire of ‘Culmer Belle’, winner of 4th, 76th, 131st and 428th open N.F.C. Pau. ‘Culmer Lad’ and ‘40799’ were both sons of the first of Eric’s four N.F.C. Pau Merit Award winners, Champion ‘Culmer Lady’. The grandsire of ‘Culmer Gold’ on his dam’s side was the blue chequer cock, ‘26792’, who is rated by some as Eric’s principal breeding pigeon.

 

 

He is half-brother to Champion ‘Culmer Lass’. The stock cock, ‘26792’, and ‘Culmer Lass’, were both sired by the blue cock, ‘13953’, the sire of three 1st section and a 2nd section winners from the Pau National. The dam of ‘26792’ was the famous blue chequer hen, ‘The Challen Hen’, who bred ten pigeons to appear in the Pau National results, including 2nd open. The nest mate of ‘26792’ was blue chequer hen, ‘26791’ and she won 2nd section N.F.C. Pau, and was also the dam of the champion red cock, ‘Culmer Sam’, who I think was Eric Cannon’s key breeding pigeon from the early 1980’s. ‘Culmer Gold’ is typical of Eric’s old blue family, being medium, long cast in the hand, with good, silky feather and a nice head. The old timer loved Eric and was always up on his shoulder or hand looking for a bit of Maize. He won a great deal of money in National racing and bred a dynasty of outstanding long-distance racing pigeons for the Cannon loft and others.

If the N.F.C. Pau Certificate of Merit had started a few years earlier, Eric would have won three other awards, with the three hens, ‘Culmer Julie Girl’, ‘Culmer Beauty’ and the great champion blue hen, ‘Culmer Blue Bird’. My wife, Betty, and I were good friends with Eric and Pat for nearly 30 years and out of all their many champions through the years, ‘Blue Bird’, was my favourite. She was perfect in the hand and in the late 1970’s she recorded 6th 28th, 57th, 118th and 251st open N.F.C. Pau, winning 1st section twice. The Cannon loft has won countless positions in the N.F.C. through the years, but the highlights have been: five times winner of the Langstone Gold Cup, for best average of three N.F.C. races, 16 times 1st section in N.F.C. races, 1st open NFC Sartilly, 2nd open NFC Pau, 4th open NFC Pau, 5th open NFC Sartilly, 5th open NFC Avranches, 6th open NFC Pau (twice), 8th open NFC Sartilly and so on.

 

The Cannons had 74 positions in the first 100 open positions in Pau Grand Nationals and lifted the 3 bird Average from the Pau National six times. Eric and Pat had a lot of problems with Sparrowhawks and had many top-class pigeons ruined by these birds, including the Pau section winner, ‘Culmer White Flight’. Soon after this handsome cock won 14th open N.F.C. Pau, he came home from an inland training fly ripped open by a hawk and mentally he was never the same pigeon again.

Eric Cannon passed away in July 2000 and I was asked to arrange his three dispersal sales, which were held in Nottingham, Sutton and Paulton in the autumn of that year. The Nottingham sale produced the highest priced pigeon at £2,300 – 00 in the form of Champion ‘Culmer Bess’, Eric’s fourth Pau Merit Award winner. Her sire was bred by Michael Spencer, who went to the Nottingham sale with the sole intention of purchasing ‘Culmer Bess’. He won the bid and took this great hen back to Lancashire. When Eric passed away the sport of pigeon racing lost the ‘King’ of the Pau National and one of its greatest champions!

 

Vince Durrant of Godalming.

Vince Durrant won the S.M.T. Combine twice in the 1980’s and at that time had excelled at the long-distance events, since coming into the sport over 40 years earlier. He has been a long-time member of the Godalming club and has been a great worker for the club over many years.The last S.M.T. Combine old bird race of 1986 was the Blue Riband event from Bergerac (450 miles) and it saw Vince Durrant win 1st Combine with 2,439 birds competing. The Combine winner was his two-year-old Louella bred mealy cock 'The 62 Cock' which was raced widowhood. For the first S.M.T. Combine race of the 1987 season members sent 3,929 birds to Rennes (220 miles) and Vince won the Combine for the second time with a red chequer son of ' The 62 Cock'. Vince thought the 1986 Bergerac race was his best to date recording 1st, 5th, 8th club, 1st Surrey Federation, 1st S.M.T. Combine, winning several highly rated trophies. Another outstanding performance in 1986 was 8th section E, 21st open Pau (N.F.C.) recorded by his two-year-old blue pied hen '05', which also recorded 7th open Tours (B.B.C.) in 1986. The Durrant loft also won 1st, 2nd open Tours in 1986, and recorded nine of 15 entries in the Rennes young bird National on the day, winning 30th, 90th, 141st, 240th, 262nd, 282nd, and 349th open. Brilliant pigeon flying!

 

At that time Vince had kept pigeons for over 40 years, starting at the age of 11 with a pair of Ron Dodd of Shalford pigeons, which turned out to be two hens. Three Guildford North Road fanciers gave Vince a lot of help when he started; they were three brothers who all raced separately, Bert, Charlie & Doug Webster. Vince played a lot of football in those days and then started to play quite a lot of squash. He is also a keen fisherman. His first club was the now defunct Guildford North Road club and he won the odd card racing from the north. Other fanciers who have helped Vince since were the late Ron & Chris Cox of Farncombe who supplied the majority of his stock and helped by taking his birds for marking. Vince's wife, Sue’s, grandfather is the late Godalming 'ace' Stan Edgington and Vince raced his pigeons to Stan's back garden for many years.

 

 

When Vince married Sue in September 1986, Stan clocked his birds so as Vince could go off to the church, and recorded 4th club, 47th S.M.T. Combine Bodmin. Stan, a retired carpenter-built Vince a new 30ft loft in his own back garden and sited on top of a hill. Vince said his early mistakes were overfeeding and overcrowding his first loft which was a garden shed. He maintains a loft should not be too wide so as to keep the birds manageable. He also thinks getting feeding right is one of the most important factors behind success with racing pigeons.

 

The Durrant loft then housed four pairs of stock birds, 25 pairs of natural racers, 11 widowhood cocks, which were paired up in February, and he normally bred 40 youngsters. He raced the majority on natural because he liked hens for the distance races, especially on a hard day. He kept a few widowhood cocks to try and be competitive in short sprint races. Vince was a manager of a wholesale meat company in Guildford and before he met his wife, Sue, he did a lot of overseas travelling, visiting the U.S.A., Canada, South America, Barbados, and the Far East, Singapore, Thailand etc.

 

At that time the majority of the Durrant pigeons came from Ron & Chris Cox and  the late Stan Edgington. He had introduced a pair of Vanhees from Louella, the cock being the Bergerac Combine winner ' The 62 Cock' and some Kirkpatricks also from Louella. Vince's wife is his flying partner and she does a lot of the training and cleaning out. Some years ago, Vince recalled that a non-fancier friend clocked in for him when he was away. When the birds arrived, he got confused and finished up clocking in a celluloid ring from an old stock bird and couldn't understand why it was so difficult to get the rubber ring off the bird's leg.

 

Vince liked the old birds to race as far as possible, Bergerac, Pau National and Palamos with the British Barcelona Club. Yearlings go through to 350 miles, with a few going to Bergerac and youngsters fly the programme as long as they are alright in the moult. He liked to train his birds from Petersfield (20 miles) and if possible, tossing them in twos and fours so as they work. The birds he wants for the distance races were singled-up along the coast as often as possible and young birds were trained every day. He fed a good mixture for most of the year, with extra Linseed during the moult and more Barley was fed just before pairing and up until the eggs were laid as this keeps the hens in trim. Once the hens have laid, he fed the good mixture again, until the youngsters have been weaned and pots of Maple Peas were put in the nest boxes when they were rearing. When racing starts, he fed more Barley with the mixture and varies that amount according to the race distance. The birds were trapped with Red Band condition seed.

 

 

He favoured hens when selecting producers, nothing too small, with good wing and good steps in the flights. He had never really studied eyesign and the main thing in the eye he liked was deep colour, well defined, he never paired two similar eyes together. Favoured racing conditions were hens sitting 10 to 14-day eggs and cocks two years old or more starting to drive their hens to nest. He said he had been in the sport for over 40 years and in his opinion nothing startling has changed in that time, apart from the fact it is easier now to get a good family of birds thanks to Louella and similar studs. He thinks the standards of most people's birds have improved greatly, which must make for better racing. Vince rated the late Eric Cannon the best local fancier, because he knows the races he is interested in and is single-minded and dedicated in his preparation for those races.

 

He thinks the main reason for fly aways is overcrowding and told me youngsters should have plenty of room and spare perches, so they are contented and not always battling for somewhere to roost. He didn't breed late breds as they need too much individual care and attention if they are going to be any good. The only time he would take a late bred would be out of a special pair for stock. He practised linebreeding with the majority of his best distance birds. Vince thinks the moult is very important and the birds should be fed the best corn available during this time with added Linseed. The birds need rest and all the best nourishment they can when growing new feathers. He said his tamest birds have been his best performers, but then again, he spends a lot of time with the pigeons and has no really wild ones. Vince still racing in 2019 with great success and is now in partnership with wife, Sue, and son, Jack. The Durrant family of Godalming!

 

Eric Pearson of Farncombe.

The late Eric Pearson has raced, with outstanding success, for many years in the very strong Godalming club. The 1994 season saw him win 1st club, 1st Surrey Federation, 1st SMT Combine Wadebridge (6,000 birds). Eric's winner, a nice blue chequer hen, was a bad trapper as a young bird and was home to possibly win the Federation on another race but sat out. In 1988 Bob Scott of Sacristan bred Eric a youngster, which went on to win 3rd club Bergerac (440 miles) only five birds home on the day, with 249 birds taking part. This hen was the dam of the Wadebridge Combine winner and Eric's good blue chequer hen, winner of 11th sect E, 75th open Pau (NFC) in 1995. Eric won a ‘Spanish Diploma’ in British Barcelona Club with his old blue chequer cock which won the section twice from Palamos (682 miles). This great old pigeon was grandsire of one of Eric's best distance hens and winner of 1995: ­124th open Pau (NFC), 1994: 119th open Pau (NFC), 1993: 275th open Pau (NFC).

 

He had a nice neat 14ft x 6ft loft, with two sections and bob wire traps, it was all scraped out every day. He liked any race over 250 miles but thought Pau (550 miles) is an ideal distance. He only raced natural and paired up in March, with the Channel events in mind. He bred 20 youngsters each year, which were made to fly the inland card, he never sent to young bird Channel races. The youngsters were always well trained down to the coast for their future as Channel racers and were fed on 50% beans and 50% economy mixture.

 

 

Eric had sadly lost his mother and father by time he was 16 years of age and had to find lodgings. He was fortunate to be taken in by Eric Cannon's mother and stayed with the Cannon family until he was called up into the Army. When Eric Cannon went into the Army, Eric Pearson looked after and raced his pigeons for him. Eric said he had the good fortune to obtain birds from Peter Laddle of Sacristan, which crossed in well with his birds, producing several top-class distance birds. Eric rated his old 1978 blue chequer cock 'Bottle', one of his all-time best birds, winning 1st sect, 7th open Palamos (BBC), 1st sect, 8th open Palamos (BBC), 123rd open Palamos (BBC), 124th open Perpignan (BBC), lifting two ‘Harkers Rose Bowls’ and the ‘Spanish Diploma’. Eric told me, all his best pigeons in the later years were grandchildren of 'Bottle' when paired to pigeons down from Sacristan. Eric was a good club man, being President of the Godalming club for three years and had been a clock setter since 1951. One of the sport's workers!

 

Paul and Arthur Bridgewater of Godalming.

My late friend, Eric Cannon, took me on a loft visit to Paul and Arthur Bridgewater, who have been premier fanciers in the National and Combine events for many years. Paul won 1st open N.F.C. Nantes on his 21st. birthday, with a game natural blue hen bred from birds obtained locally. Paul won the Nantes National at his first attempt at National flying and the champion blue hen was his sole entry in the race!

 

Paul and his late father, Arthur, raced their highly successful team of pigeons on both the widowhood and natural systems. Paul now races on his own and is only interested in south road channel racing and pairs half their 24 widowhood cocks in December, and the other half in March, with the ten pairs of natural racers. Paul said he has his own method of widowhood, with the cocks never being broken down and only showing the hens on the short training races. On their return from the race the cocks get the hens for the rest of the afternoon and all the old birds are fed on a first-class widowhood mixture.

 

On my visit to the Bridgewater loft I was shown their star bird, a widowhood Van Hee red chequer cock, which had won 1st club, 1st Surrey Federation, 2nd open S.M.T. Combine Niort that season and during the winter won 1st Ash Vale Open Show, which was by far the strongest local open show for racing pigeons. Paul told me during the season his widowhood cocks won far more than his natural racers. The loft’s performance in recent seasons , racing inland and from France must be described as fantastic, winning 1st open Combine Penzance (3,592 birds), 1st open Combine Plymouth (2,108 birds), 1st open Combine Guernsey (10,090 birds), 2nd open Combine Niort, 4th  open Combine Bergerac, 8th  open Combine Bergerac (twice), 1st section, 1st open N.F.C. Nantes, 5th section, 12th open N.F.C. St. Malo (10,034 birds), 4th section, 21st open N.F.C. Sartilly (8,396 birds), 6th section, 44th open N.F.C. Saintes (5,070 birds), 9th section, 63rd open N.F.C. Pau, several times 1st Federation in inland races and many other premier prizes in the National Flying Club and London & South East Classic Club.

 

 

Paul started up in pigeons at the age of 14, with a pair of birds from a local fancier and his first loft was 6ft x 6ft, and his first club was the local Godalming club, which was one of the strongest club’s in the Surrey Federation. At that time Paul had been in the sport for nearly 50 years and his late father, Arthur, who was his partner, helped and encouraged him on starting up. The Bridgewater’s had four lofts, with the widowhood cocks being housed in the main 20f  racing loft. All trapping was into sputniks. The main family raced were Busschaerts from John Palmer and Jim Fisk of Guildford, with some introductions of the Jan Aarden family. Paul reckoned that generally the widowhood cocks were best up to middle distance and then the natural pigeons do better at the long distance.

The partners liked to train from Hayling Island on the south coast, but once the season starts the widowhood cocks were not trained, flying out around the loft twice a day, with the natural racers going to the coast regularly through the season. Their 40 young birds were all trained to Hayling Island and had to race the full programme, through to the Young Bird National. Paul rated Eric and Pat Cannon of Godalming as the top local fanciers and said they were simply the best!

 

Well that’s it for this week! I hope my readers have enjoyed this look back at some Godalming area champions of yester year. We will be looking at some more very soon. To view some old video footage of some of these fanciers and their birds go on to my YouTube channel. I can be contacted with any pigeon matters on telephone number: 01372 463480 or email me on: keithmott1@virginmedia.com

 

TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)