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Keith Mott’s Champions of Yesteryear (Part 84)



I stayed with my mate Bob Reeves for a weekend of Devon and Cornwall loft visits in the late 1990’s and it was on that tour that I met the National champion, Trevor Dodd of Taunton. Bob woke me up at 6.30 am on the Saturday morning and we were soon on the road, heading for Taunton in Somerset, and the home of the 1996 Saintes winners, Mr. & Mrs. Trevor Dodd. The Dodd family lived in a quiet little village called Ham; about three miles outside Taunton and his very smart lofts were set in massive gardens with rose beds and an apple orchard. On our arrival Trevor was waiting with his grandson, Matthew, for youngsters from the Sartilly National. Bob Reeves and Trevor had been good friends for many years and Trevor said that he got as much pleasure out of Bob winning the Nantes National in 1996 as he did when he himself won the Saintes National that season. Trevor had been in the sport for 50 years and had a very keen partner in his ten year old grandson, Matthew. The young­ster loves football and was a great fan of Robbie Fowler and Liverpool FC. Matthew and his grandmother were a great help to Trevor with cleaning and clocking the pigeons.


Trevor was no stranger to winning big time Classic and National long distance races, recording lst Open Palamos (BBC), lst Open Pau (BICC) and lst Open Perpignan in recent years. Trevor raced Natural with his old long distance family to win these 600 miles events, but in recent seasons the main stay of his loft was Billy Parkes' Busschaerts and he was mostly interested in middle distance events. The Dodds' Saintes National winner was their Busschaert blue chequer Widowhood cock champion `Fairoak Rocket' and this game pigeon had previously won several racing cards in club events. On his build up to Saintes National, `Fairoak Rocket' had coastal tosses and two Nantes races in club.

Trevor's main racing loft was 44 ft long and was a double-decker, with open door trapping and office/basket store on one end. This smart loft housed mostly young birds and was spotlessly clean, being scraped out regu­larly. Trevor raced 18 cocks on the Widowhood system, raced to their own 18 ft three section loft and also trapped through open doors. The Widowhood cocks were paired up on February 12 each season, with middle distance Channel races in mind. Trevor said his cocks excel up to 400 miles and the odd one or two did well from Dax and Pan. He showed hens to the Widowhood cocks for about five minutes on marking night and broke down from race day until Tuesday morning. Birds were fed on first class Widowhood mixture and flew out around the loft at regular time; they got garlic in the drinking water and Hormoform twice a week. Trevor maintained that Natural was the best system for long distance races and retained a few birds of his old distance family for this job.

Trevor was born in Torquay and became a pigeon fancier at the age of ten. A friend in Torquay gave him his first birds and the first club he joined was Torbay Inv F.C. He made a few silly mistakes in the beginning, but got a lot of help and encouragement from the late Tom Pym and his son, Mervyn of Torquay. Trevor's first loft was a converted wardrobe and as a lad he just loved messing around with pigeons.

Trevor kept about 30 pairs of stock birds, mostly Busschaerts and these were housed in several spacious lofts and fights. He picked out stock birds on pedigree and racing records, not on handling or type. The stock loft retained a few of his old distance family and the breeding pigeons were paired up at the end of February. The Dodd’s best stock pigeon at that time was ‘The Unrung Cock', a handsome red chequer Busschaert and he was sire of countless winners and grandsire of champion 'Fairoak Rocket'. The Dodd’s race about 50 young birds each season and all went through to the longest race from Penzance and were never paired up, but raced to the perch. In 1996 season Trevor raced the young birds a bit differently by going up to Weymouth then across the Channel. The Dodds' only raced South Road. and because they only live 18 miles from the south coast, they had to race three races from east along the coast then across the Channel. The only time they had flown North Road was in 1983 when there was no Channel racing and they won 3rd Club Thurso (500 miles).

Trevor sadly past away in 2007 and the sport of pigeon racing lost one of its champions. I can be contacted on telephone number: 01372 463480.




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