Keith Mott writes...
LION BREWERY MIDWEEK CLUB
I recently attended the A.G.M. of the Lion Brewery Midweek Club held at Ash. In the last couple of seasons this very popular club has a bit of a rebirth, with a great input of new ideas and the recent purchase of their own trailer for mid-week racing from Hamworthy, Seaton and Guernsey in the 2007 season. It was planned to include races from Poole in the programme, but organizations can’t liberate there after 10.00hrs, so it was agreed that it would be substituted with Hamworthy, which is very close to the Poole liberation site.
One of the main plus points for me with the Lion Brewery Midweek Club is they race-mark on Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning for all Wednesday inland races and my birds can have a good 100 miles fly and not have a night in the basket. Great training for the long distance events! The subs are £25.00, plus a one off £20.00 transporter payment and all young fanciers under 18 years of age don’t pay any subs, but pay the full price for their birdage each week. The club is holding an open race from Merville in France on 6th. June and there will be more details on this event in a few weeks. Several new members were voted in at the A.G.M and the club membership now stands at over 40 lofts. The transporter will available for twice weekly training from Alton and Winchester for the members through March and April, at 25p per bird.
The 2007 race programme is: OLD BIRD: 18th April Hamworthy: 25th April Hamworthy: 2nd May Seaton: 9th May Guernsey: 16th May Seaton: 23rd May Guernsey: 30th May Seaton: 6th June Merville (open): 13th June Hamworthy: 20th June Seaton: 27th June Guernsey: 4th July Guernsey: 11th July Guernsey: YOUNG BIRD: 25th July Salisbury: 1st August Salisbury: 8th August Hamworthy: 15th August Seaton: 22nd August Guernsey: 29th August Hamworthy: 5th September Seaton: 12th September Hamworthy. Birdage prices for the 2007 season are 75p inland and £1.75p Guernsey. Please give Mick Worsfold, the club secretary, a phone call for any other details on: 01483 487330.
Another plus for the Club is having Mick Worsfold as 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 in 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).
Mick had always raced in partnership with his father, George, until his death in the early 1980s. This was a very unsettling time for Mick and his family, but he decided to carry on with the pigeons although he had to travel several miles to George’s garden, where the lofts were sited.
The partners certainly lived up to their nicknames, ‘The Bergerac Aces’, winning countless major prizes in the Combine and National events, including twice 1st. open Combine Bergerac (450 miles). Their first Bergerac Combine win was in the S.M.T. Combine in 1975, with 4,027 birds competing and the star bird was a 1973 bred blue chequer hen of the Kirkpatrick and Bricoux strain. This great hen previously won several top prizes, including 1st. club Exeter, but pigeon racing being what it is, with ups and downs, she was lost from Pau. The 1978 B.T.B. Combine Bergerac winner was the Kirkpatrick grizzle cock, ‘Rowdy’, and in his build up to winning the combine that year he had six channel races. This champion cock’s full racing performance was 1st. club, 1st. Three Borders Federation, 1st. open B.T.B. Combine (1,852 birds) Bergerac, 1st. club, 7th. Federation Exeter, 4th. club Angers, 6th. club Niort and 27th. open London & South East Classic Club.
The pigeons were situated at George’s home, at the bottom half of his garden, which was like a field and an ideal site for the four lofts. The main racing loft was 18ft. long, in three sections, with the birds being trapped through open doors and drop holes. ‘A good trapping system and good ventilation are the main factors in good loft design’, says Mick. The main family was Kirkpatrick with Bricoux crosses, and he bought in the old fancied pigeon now and again to try out. A firm favourite at the Worsfold loft was a mealy cock called, ‘John Courage’, and what a great pigeon he was! He flew the channel over 20 times. In his prime he flew in five Nationals and was never beaten by a loft mate in those five races. This wonderful old timer was also an outstanding breeder, siring many good racers including a yearling which won 2nd. club, 23rd. open S.M.T. Combine Bergerac. ‘John Courage’, on his many channel crossings chalked up many major positions including: 1st. club, 3rd. Federation, 5th. open S.M.T. Combine (7,003 birds) Avranches, 1st. club, 3rd. Federation, 5th. open S.M.T. Combine (4,234 birds) Niort, 8th. section N.F.C. Nantes and 1st. club Guernsey.
The late George Worsfold had kept pigeons for many years, but at one time he had a long spell in hospital and young Mick had the job of looking after the birds. Mick was about 15 years old at the time and had to sell the pigeons because of a shortage of cash. Two years later, when things sorted themselves out, George and Mick started up again as partners. The original birds were Bricoux / Sion, which Mick obtained from Amos Foster of Chertsey and in the late 1960’s the Kirkpatrick’s were brought in from J. Johnson of Larne, Northern Ireland. Mick says he looked up to Les Davenport and the late Eric Cannon of Wormley as his ideal fanciers and maintained, if he had been to be second to any fancier in the National result, it would be Eric Cannon. He is 100% channel minded and maintains that if he couldn’t fly the channel he would pack up pigeons, as inland racing doesn’t give him any thrill whatsoever.
In recent years Mick’s wife, Pauline has become his pigeon partner and is a major factor behind his continuing success, with her help with training general loft management. Mick has been a good friend of mine for most of my time in the pigeon racing sport and he is a great guy. With Mick, a spade is a spade, and what you see is what you get. No flannel. There you have it, Mick Worsfold, a brilliant channel racer!
I can be contacted on telephone number: 01372 463480. See yer!
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT.