Lancashire Social Circle
In a normal racing season the Circle would hold three OB races, but in these unpredictable times we thought at one point we might not any, so to achieve two has been a bonus. These have only been possible because past president Roger Sutton not only arranged these two races with the North Staffs Fed but sponsored the birdage cost which all the members are very grateful for. The second of the two races was from Fougeres when 27 members entered 54 birds, a number of members did not feel safe having underlining health problems and did not take part. The birds were liberated at 8 45 into a light west south west wind when the birds cleared well and members were looking for them to be doing 50mph. This proved a little ambitious but not that far of the mark.
Pics: Bobby Brandon with his winner from Fougeres with the LSC.
The race was won by Bobby Brandon from Norden near Rochdale. Bobby was born in a small mining village in Sherwood Forest and moved to Rochdale aged nine, a year or so later his granddad built him a small pigeon loft on top of the stone slab where the dustbin was kept. Anyone who lived in a small terrace house in the north of England will fully understand. Young Bobby loved this and one night his mother was frantic when Bobby was nowhere to be found, yes you have guessed it he was asleep with the pigeons. At the age of 12 he entered a club show that he won, Bobby remembers getting a bit of stick from the older members who thought they should have collected the red card, but later that season this same pigeon won him his first race and broke his novice status. His uncle raced pigeons and along with his grandfather was a great help to the young fancier. Over a number of years Bobby has race in a number of racing partnerships, Morton & Brandon, Brandon Fleming & Fleming and Brandon & Culshaw. All these were winning partnerships and all raced to lofts kept on allotments. Seven years ago a house move to his present address gave him the opportunity to race under his own name to his back garden. Several members told him he would not win any races to that location but in his first racing season he was top prizewinner. His loft was bought by his mother before she died and came from Eco lofts which have been slightly amended to suit the location and help with the trapping that has proved a success. His team of birds come from Anthony & Simon Hughes from their winning lines, and it’s true to say 90% of the race team are from this source. Simon and Bobby worked together and Simon was good mates with Bobby's son and was always around at Bobby's house and one could say was like a second son. In his working life he worked in the slaughter house for 37 years, but now retired thinks he has the best job ever. Both he and his wife don't drive so training the pigeons, he relies of friends and as a result the pigeons have to exercise well around the loft.
Pics: Bobby Brandon Hens Section - Bobby Brandon Loft - note the single breeding pens for stock pairs
The loft has three sections two with 12 nestboxes in each and the third with V perches and a 2 inch wire mesh floor at a 30 degree angle that makes sure the hens stay on the perches. The hens are flown out twice per day and at the start of the season made to fly for an hour at a time, as the season moves on they fly without any encouragement. Once called in they are fed in the corridor and when they go up for a drink they are closed in until their next exercise period. The cocks on the other hand are given open hole in the afternoon for two hours and are all over the sky. At the start of the season he had 31 hens and at the time of my visit had 27 left, he had 23 cocks from which he has lost 6. Now I know many of you will be thinking it's been a short racing season, but Bobby races his entire team every week and all these birds have been across the channel three time this year up to 400 miles. A good example of this was a blue cock that last season won 2nd Cheltenham, 1st Fougeres, 1st Cheltenham 1st Messac 1st Lancashire Combine 1st Three Counties Combine flying week in week out. He feeds Gerry Plus and tweaks this with a Fat Mixture as and when needed, and has a saying "The Lighter the Feed the Faster the Speed." When feeding he never put all the feed in at once but prefers to hand feed a handful at a time making sure the pigeons know where the food is coming from. This lesson learnt by the youngster in their early days and weeks of life means the whole family of birds are very tame and are happy to have him in and around the loft. He finds his pigeons never lose weight when returning from a race and is the reason he can send them back the following week. He puts a product in the water on their return from the races called "transporter" that he gets from Holland, this is an agent to stop the spread of infection. He has 4 stock pairs that are kept in individual small pens, and it's from these and a select number of racers the he breeds 36 to 40 youngsters for racing. Vitamins are used when rearing but not when racing as Bobby feels you can over do these, and with a balance diet the birds should be OK. He never floats any eggs as he likes them to rear their own babies, having said that many of his birds have come from Simon Hughes as eggs and he cannot thank Simon enough for all his help with the loft conversion for the hens and the stock pens plus some of the best pigeons he has ever raced. Before moving to his present address 7 years ago he had young bird sickness but not since he took them home. He is not sure why this is, but a few things he does is put half a teaspoon of Milton into 4 Lts of water every day of the year. He also puts Virkon S into the drinking water on a Sunday and the birds are cleaned out twice a day every day which can't do them any harm. Bobby's winning pigeon was a 4y old cheq hen that was doing 1386, raced as a young bird then used a widow hen for two seasons, as at the time he only raced widowhood cocks before Simon showed him how to race the hens. Back in the race team as a 3y old she won 1st Messac and 1st Cheltenham and has never had a night out. This season she went to the Circle's first race and was 7th but could have done better as she came with a stray that took her on the roof and she lost a bit of time not enough to win but could have put her in the prizes. Bobby wins the W E Evans Trophy and a Frank H Parsonage Award.
Pics: John Dearden who still gets a thrill from timing in a good one. John Dearden’s cracking hen that was 2nd Fougeres LSC.
Second place went to John Dearden who also flies at Norden and a matter of just 492 yards further than Bobby doing 1385. John first got involved in the sport over 70 years ago when his father who was a farmer use to go to the cattle auction at Clough Fold, Waterfoot ,near Bacup. John recalls he would have been around the age of six at the time and had a fascination with some pigeons in a small pen. He remembers around that time one of the best fanciers in his locality was Billy Wallock, and it was from him that young John got his first real racing pigeons. Other members of the Wallock family were Cousin Albert and Uncle George all of which kept racing pigeons. It was Albert who was a little older than John that took him on a double-decker bus to get his first pigeons. A little later when John had his own loft on the farm he added some birds from another local fancier Ned Schofield and it was from these pigeons he bred his first winner in 1955, a blue chequer cock ring number NURP 55J5590 that not only won the club but topped the South East Lancs Fed from Christchurch. John was so excited he didn't sleep for two nights. The thrill of winning a race is still with him and his latest winner that was second with the Circle on 1385 was a 2y old cheq hen sent paired and sitting on a small 4 day old baby. She has had two inland races prior to this race and was sent with full confidence carrying his nomination for the Brian Dickinson trophy. She comes from a long line of winners going back to a pigeon called "Our Brenda" who was probably the best racing hen, at that time she had eight races and took eight first prizes. She had a bad habit of landing on his head when he entered the loft and taking off in flight. One day she disappeared and was presumed stolen only to return some two weeks later looking none the worst for being missing. John always thought she was stolen and had done the same trick of landing on the fanciers head and off for a fly only to return.
Pics: Keith Iddon 3rd Fougeres and Winner of the Best Two Bird Average
Keith Iddon had a great race timing in both his birds in just 3 minutes on 1384 & 1373 these two celibate hens win him the Second Thoughts Trophy for the best two bird average in the second race. These two hens had been kept in the young bird section but not actually with the YB's although they had been exercised with them. This was only their second race as his club Leyland only started racing on the 4th July as their transport organisation only got underway that weekend. His winning hen had a club race on the 4th and then entered in the Lancashire Social Circle's first race from Carentan where she was 10th. This 2y old Camphuis Jansen cheq hen was bred by Derek Pedley a long time guest of Keith's at our social gatherings, and came to be part of the race team as she was one of his Friendship pigeons of 2018, and won 3rd prize in that race as a young bird, proving from the start she had winning genes in her blood. Flown in the Wigan Two Bird Club she is a past winner of 7th and then 1st. The second pigeon was a gift bird from Tim Webster a blue hen who had a similar race programme having gone to the first club race on the 4th July before going to Carentan with the North West Grand National where she was 31st open. With both these hens only having one short inland race, their first channel race was something of a pipe opener for them before this race from Fougeres. These two hens have now had 4 club races between them and won 3 of them. The system used was at the start of the year 12 yearling hens were paired up to 12 old cocks, once they had sat around 14 days a further 12 yearling hens were paired to the 12 cocks. With the intention of using a jealousy system to race the 24 yearling hens. But when there looked like there would be no racing the cocks were moved on and the hens just left. The two 2y old hens were never paired and just kept in a section of the young bird loft alongside the yearling hens, to the left of the entry while the youngsters went to the right. At no time this season had these two 2y old hens been paired, the day before basketing they were let into the old bird loft with plenty of nesting material and left over night, and when they came home from this race trapped to the OB loft for the first time all year.
Pic: Alan Bamford winner of 4th Fougeres with the LSC
Alan Bamford was fourth on 1377 when he timed a 2y old blue Widowhood cock from the fantastic breeding lines of Liddle and Field from Southport that is bred to appreciate the longer distance races which sadly we will not be holding this year. This is the first time he has featured in the prizes, but Alan is very confident the best performances are yet to come from this cock as he is only a young pigeon. He is full of vitality and is continually in and out of the loft and clapping around while out at exercise and invariably the last bird to come into the loft at night. As is only to be expected he was prepared on Bamford's Superfly and Extreme Energy Fat Mixtures. He arrived back home in excellent condition, although Alan felt it looked like he had been brought down by a heavy rain storm near to home.
Pic : Eric Entwistle who took 5th in the LSC race from Fougeres.
Eric Entwistle a past President of the Circle and a very keen Management Committee man who has some strong views on the traditions that the LSC hold so dear. Eric clocks a 3y old cheq widowhood cock doing 1370 that picks up the 5th place on the result. Being a retired farmer Eric is up early morning and has the birds out by 6 15am and locks them out for two hours, after which he gets them in for a light feed. Later they are out again, around 4pm, and are fed a heaver feed of a good racing mixture then given their treat of a couple of peanuts. Training consists of four tosses at the start of the season and maybe one or two when the season is coming to an end, if Eric feels they need it. This season he has tried to keep to the same system of years gone by but with the loss of his wife Wendy earlier in the year and the lockdown we have all found ourselves in the routine has changed a little.
Pic: Maurice Jackson who won the final Diploma being 6th Fougeres.
The final diploma goes to a new member who is flying with us for the first time this season, Maurice Jackson from Leyland who timed a 3y old cheq cock flying just over 8 hours on 1369. Maurice and his wife Dorothy have for many years spent the winter months abroad using their Boat or Campervan to travel around and take in the winter sunshine that is so rare in this country from November to March. While on one of these trips around five years ago Maurice spotted a pack of pigeons flying around a loft in France, he made his way over to meet up with the fancier. Only to find he did not speak any English and Maurice had only a little broken French, the conversation was to say a little difficult. But the Frenchman's daughter was on hand and she spoke better English that Maurice so all was well. When Maurice and Dorothy decided to come home the French fancier presented him with a pair of pigeons a dark cock and a blue hen and it's from these that Maurice's timer descends. According to what Maurice understands the French fancier only flew in the longer races and did not compete in any club races. Similar to the BICC and BBC races we hold in this country. This cracking looking cock was raced on widowhood all season but repaired for the channel races in his preparation he was sent to the North West Grand National and was 1st bird timed in at the clock station flying from Portland. At the time of the Circle race from Fougeres he was sitting eggs around 4 days.
Brian Dearn Tel. 01254 772515.