Writes about winning fanciers past and present
Lion Brewery Mid-Week Club
I recently had a communication from my ol’ mate and secretary of the ‘Lion Brewery’ Mid-Week Club, Mick Worsfold, outlining some news of the club's 2013 season. The Mid-Week marks on a Wednesday morning for an afternoon race from Hamworthy and has adopted a very good rule: ‘Bad weather, no mark, no race, no holdover and no unnecessary expense’. Mick tells me the club had a great 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’. Mick would like to thank some helpers in the form of Bob Baldwin and John Woodhouse who marked all the birds through the season, Lyndsay Armitage for setting up the ETS system every week and keeping the club accounts in pristine order, the two Toms, Firmanger and Commonly, who did a great job in convoying the birds to the race point every week and the race controllers, Fred Broadbridge and Mike Armitage with back up from Steve Appleby. The club’s finances are in good order and the AGM will be held on Sunday 16th February, kicking off at 11.00hrs. The club’s HQ at the ‘Lion Brewery’ PH in Ash will host a big Christmas / New Year pigeon show, the date to be announced. The club’s membership is well over 50 lofts and the six junior members pay no annual subscription. The club averaged 300 birds a race in 2013 and Mick tells me, on top of this total a great number of trainers are sent, with 10p per bird going into the Transport fund, which stands at about £2,000. Mick Worsfold recently said, ‘I will be driving down the Purbeck with the two Toms in the next couple of weeks to check out the liberation site there, as it situated on top of the cliffs and might give the birds a better chance against the falcons on their release. The site is just over six miles further on than Hamworthy, which has produced a couple of bad races in 2013, for no apparent reason.'
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.
One of the main plusses for me with the ‘Lion Brewery’ Midweek Club is my birds can have a good 100 mile fly and not have a night in the basket. Great training for the long distance events! This 100 miles mid-week racing is proving to be a great help in getting pigeons ready for the main National and Classic events and ‘Lion Brewery’ members have figured high in several open results in the 2013 season. The subs are £25.00 and all young fancier under 18 years of age don’t pay any subs, but pay the full price for their birdage each week. Another plus for the ‘Lion Brewery’ Midweek Club is having Mick Worsfold as club secretary! Mick is a ‘straight down the line’ no nonsense sort of gentleman and everything is spot on with him. We have been good friends for many years and I must say it’s great to have him at the helm! Mick races his pigeons in partnership with his wife, Pauline, at their home in Bisley and their record Channel racing over the years is second to none, winning 1st open Combine (twice), 1st open British Barcelona Club (twice) and 1st open London & South East Classic Club (twice).
The ‘Lion Brewery’ 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. Mike’s wife, Lyndsay, has a great interest in the pigeons and works very hard for all the clubs who are based at the pub in Ash. The very smart lofts are sited in the pub garden and Lyndsay has her loft of all white racing pigeons in the garden of the Armitage’s house next door to the ‘Lion Brewery’ and these are all bred down from gift birds from Brian Stansfield, which are thought to be the old Logan strain.
Spelthorne Winter Shows
I’ve had a very busy winter judging shows this year, seven in all, traveling to Cornwall and the North of England and a nice sunny Sunday morning in December saw me dive over the River Thames to judge a class of old cocks at the Spelthorne Open Show. This club never stands still and have regular activities at the Football club HQ in Sunbury, including the Winter Open Shows and the big Summer Breeder / Buyer and Open Race. The show was well attended and my uncle, Terry Smart, wasn’t showing so he kindly stewarded for me. He told me he would be running a third Spelthorne Breeder / Buyer in 2014. As always the quality of the birds competing in the show was 100% and a handsome blue cock owned by Derek Reid won the event and all pools.
Members of the Spelthorne club have enjoyed a good old bird season racing in the Three Borders Federation, with Derek Reid winning most of the inland races in the club, including 1st Federation, 5th SMT Combine Truro (1393 birds). The month of September saw me drive to Laleham near Staines, to visit the 2013 Federation winning loft of Spelthorne member, Will Worley, and what a great season he has enjoyed. Will has had a lot of good success in recent years and the 2013 season has seen him win 1st, 2nd Spelthorne club, 1st, 3rd Three Borders Federation Yeovil (1259 birds), 1st Spelthorne club Taunton, plus several other premier positions in one of the strongest clubs in the Federation. The premier Spelthorne racer, Derek Reid, bred Will a batch of ten young birds to race and the 1st and 3rd Federation winners were part of that job lot. The Federation winner was a handsome dark cock and Wil tell me he really liked the pigeon from the first time he saw him, and the 3rd Federation winner was, ‘The 52 Hen, a blue chequer hen. These two birds were mated together and went to the Yeovil race sitting eggs in a bowl on the loft floor. The two birds came from the race together, trapped together, but were split in the Federation result by Will’s slow clocking method! The last old bird race was flown from Bergerac (450 miles) in mid-July and Derek Reid finished off well recording 1st club, 4th Federation, 7th SMT Combine. Great pigeon flying! Generally speaking the Spelthorne had a good race from Bergerac with Les Penycate recording 2nd club, 9th Federation, 12th SMT Combine with the same pigeon that won 1st Three Borders Federation Bergerac in the 2012 season. One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in the sport of pigeon racing is Les Penycate and one of his best ever racing seasons was in 2010 when he recorded several premier positions including 1st SMT Combine St Nazaire. His occupation all his life has been in the fencer building trade and he recently retired from work, which has reflected in his outstanding performances with his pigeons. The first three birds in the Spelthorne club form 2013 Bergerac race were in the Federation result with ‘novice’, Nick Abo, winning 3rd club, 22nd Federation, 29th SMT Combine. Nick only sent one pigeon to the longest old bird race and it turned up at his loft while he was at the club checking Bergerac clocks, so lost time clocking his star birds. Well done to him! The Spelthorne South Road is only a small club with maximum nine flying members, based at Spelthorne Sports and Social Club, Staines Road West, Sunbury on Thames, just one mile off Junction 1 of the M3 Motorway. Small club it might be, but is of the highest quality, having several Federation winners in recent times and three 1st SMT Combine winners in the last three seasons.
Thanks to Peter and Anita Parker
My ol’ mate, Brian Goodwin of Hanworth, has suffered some really bad health problems in recent months and spending so much time in hospital has found it very hard to look after his large team of pigeons. He has had several major operations this year and with his wife, Angela, working full time the pigeon management has been a major struggle. The Goodwin’s friends, Peter and Anita Parker of Reading, took on the job of looking after the pigeons, with young Jamie Parker cleaning them out on a regular basis. Brian and Angela Goodwin would like to thank the Parker family for all their wonderful work in recent months.
TEXT & PHOTOS BT KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)