Writes about winning fanciers past and present
Lion Brewery Mid-Week Club
I received a communication this week from my ol’ mate Mick Worsfold, the hard working secretary of the Lion Brewery Mid-Week Club which is based at the ‘Lion Brewery’ PH in Ash. We are currently running a series of articles celebrating the 50th anniversary of the British Barcelona Club, which for the great part features winning lofts of this great organization. Mick and Pauline Worsfold have been brilliant channel racers over the last 40 years and feature in the celebration list, having won 1st open BBC twice, as well as 1st open L&SECC twice and 1st open Combine twice. Brilliant pigeon racers!
The 2014 ‘Lion Brewery’ Mid-Week race programme has been sorted out and all will be raced from Hamworthy on Wednesday afternoons. There will be twelve old birds races held between 9th April and the 25th June, four any age races between 2nd July and the 23rd July and then to finish the season seven young bird races between 30th July and 10th September. Mick tells me that race marking will be held between 09.00hrs and 11.00hrs on Wednesday morning, but members can leave their race birds at the pub on the Tuesday evening by arrangement with Mike Armitage. Several of the club’s officers looked at the Purbeck liberation site in the winter months and hope to have some of their races from there, but the acccess road is closed in the early part of the season due to the army shooting there on Wednesdays. All the liberation site information will be on the ‘Lion Brewery’ liberation line number: 09063656856. Birdage prices will be 60p per race bird and trainers, with 10p of the trainer money going to the transport fund, which stands at £2,485.00. The ‘Lion Brewery’ has adopted a new very good rule: ‘Bad weather, no mark, no race, no holdover and no unnecessary expense’. If the race is cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, a notice will be posted on the Liberation Line by 18.00hrs on the Tuesday and race results will be posted on the line by 21.30hrs on the day of the race. Mick tells me the club had a great 2013 season and only missed four races through bad weather, but most clubs had some difficult races, especially the young birds. He is correct when he says, ‘I don’t know why, but sometimes we have bad races on good days, which is pretty general in our sport today’.
The ‘Lion Brewery’ Mid-Week Club is 50 members strong and in 2013 paid out £66 per race, totalling up to £1,590.00 for the season. John Waldron was the club’s premier prize winner in 2013, winning 7 x 1st, 10 x 2nd and 2 x 3rd. Johnny is a retired postman and has achieved top prize winner in this, his first year as a member of the Mid-Week Club. He is a small team fancier but a hard task master with his birds and when competing is always the man to beat. I have known Johnny since 1980 when we both raced in the Surbiton FC together and he has won many premier positions through the years, including 1st Federation several times. Other ‘Lion Brewery’ top prize winners were: George Burgess (seven firsts), Mike Armitage (three firsts), Mick & Pauline Worsfold (two firsts), Tony Dann (two firsts), Mr. & Mrs. Bob Baldwin (two firsts), Major Honey & Grandson (one first) and Steve Glew (one first). The 2013 average winners were: Old Bird Average Mike Armitage 1433: Young Bird Average John Waldron 1432: Combine Average Mike Armitage 1399: Old Hens Average John Waldron 1420.
The ‘Lion Brewery’ PH is set in the wonderful Surrey countryside at Ash and it is common knowledge that the pub has been run for the last 40 years by the premier pigeon racing partnership of Mike and Lyndsay Armitage, who have won both the BICC and L&SECC in recent seasons. The pub is a marking station for the NFC and BICC and has been the home of the ‘Lion Brewery’ Mid-Week for many years.
John Barrett of West Ewell
I was very sad to hear recently, that after a lifetime in pigeon racing, the great Johnny Barrett has had to pack up his birds as he has found it very hard to cope with the work involved on his own. The sport of pigeon racing has lost another legend! When it comes to doing well in the Federation races, a partnership that was very consistent and did well every season was John and his late son Danny. John only lost Danny in early 2012 and it was great to see him back at the top of the Three Borders Federation result in the 2013 season. Danny was a brilliant pigeon racer and good worker at the Esher club, and he is greatly missed. The partners have been premier prize winners in the very strong Esher club several times in recent seasons and were Three Borders Federation Individual Champions in 2009.
The Three Borders Federation sent 1,327 birds to the third race of the 2013 season from Honiton (130 miles) and Dave Stanway liberated the convoy at 12.00hrs into a strong south west wind. The race was very fast with the leading pigeons doing over 2200ypm and Esher members recorded 12 birds in the Federation result. What a club! John Barrett of the Esher club won 1st and 2nd Federation clocking at his loft in West Ewell and I must say his two pigeon were way out in front of the competing field. The first ten in the Honiton Federation result were: 1) Mr. & Mrs. John Barrett & son 2224: 2) Mr. & Mrs. John Barrett & son 2221: 3) Paul Arnold 2209: 4) Chris Slight & Trevor Taylor 2205: 5) Terry Goodsell 2192: 6) D. & A. Lebby Brothers 7) R. Harper & son 2180: 8) E. & K. J. Benjamin 2178: 9) Vic Emberson 2178: 10) Colin Crook & Andy Iddenden 2177.
I have only known Johnny Barrett a few years, with the first time I met him being when he joined my club the Esher & Dist RPC with his good friend, Bob Carter, and since then they have both set the club on fire with their outstanding performances. John and Danny won the Federation many times through the years, but a couple of their best performances that come to mind were in the 2009 season with their young birds. The mighty Esher club certainly dominated the Three Borders Federation results in the first few young bird races of 2009, the highlight being when the Federation sent 1,958 birds to the Wincanton (2) and the Esher club took the first eleven positions, plus 13th with Mark and Les Duffell of Hersham breaking the run by taking 12th Federation. John and Danny Barrett took the first five places, flying 95 miles and clocking the five youngsters in 18 seconds on their ETS system. In my many years association with the Three Borders Federation I’ve can’t remember a club taking the first eleven prizes before! The following weekend the Federation sent 1,928 birds to Yeovil (107 miles) and the Esher supremos, John and Danny Barrett clocked two birds in 2 seconds to win 1st and 2nd Federation, with the Esher club taking six positions in the result. Brilliant pigeon racing! At the end of the 2009 season the Federation Points champions were Esher (244 points) and the Individual Points Trophy winners were M/M John Barrett & son of Esher (69 points).
When Johnny Barrett was a young man he was a champion boxer and started up in pigeon racing in 1968, and after a twenty year partnership with Ronnie Keeley went in partnership with his son Danny in 2000. The Barrett alliance has been very successful through the years winning the Federation numerous time and 1st open Combine a couple times. John says the Esher club is brilliant, being a good friendly set up with ‘red hot’ competition. Well done to Johnny Barrett on his fantastic success over many years and we, the members of the Esher club, are very sorry to see him leave the sport!
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)