Lancashire Social Circle
This season has been very difficult for all racing organisations but more so for the long-distance fanciers and the clubs who organise these races of which the Lancashire Social Circle is one. In a normal season the Circle hold three OB races from France and at the start of the year this looked possible but as the year moved on, we all have to settle for inland race points. For some reason this has proved more difficult to achieve than fanciers first thought and the race programmes have changed from week to week. Which has proved something of a nightmare for secretaries when some of the members needed distances from these race points that were to change before the races took place.
The Circle's first OB race of 2021 was from Yelverton in Devon a new race point to us with the first droppers doing 200 miles while our longest flyers were having to cover 272 miles the difference being a race in its self. We had a great turn out 34 members finding 67 birds for this two-bird race. Race marking took place at the Alder Root Golf Club where all members were treated to lunch before the planned race marking was to have taken place. This went down well with several of the members who had been to the race marking for the NFC earlier in the morning and who later in the afternoon had to race mark their pigeons at their own clubs. To say the marking went smoothly would be an understatement, with our usual transporter Diane Bonney no longer operating a new operator was engaged who had forgotten to drop off the baskets and as a result marking was delayed by 2 hours. But the ever-resilient pigeon fanciers quickly got stuck in and with each member only entering two birds this didn't take long and the birds were on their way. With Diane Bonney out of the business the transport companies still operating, means the number of pickups has increased and with clubs sending fewer birds a greater distance has to be covered to collect the pigeons means the drivers hours run out. It was for this reason the birds had to be race marked on Thursday but the extra night in the crates made little or no difference as when the pigeons returned, they were in good condition with the vast majority of the members timing in both their entries.
The weekend of the Circle's race proved to be something of a disaster for most racing organisations with many thousands of pigeons lost from all over the country. The press picked up on this which is typical of them always looking for a bad news story to report on that has done the sport no good at all. The Circle pigeons were liberated at Yelverton at 07 15 in a light east wind that was changing to more south as the pigeons made their way up country. The race proved to be a great one for the LSC members with 46 pigeons making the result sheet from the 67 entered, with 16 members timing in both their entries. No one knows what made the weekend so difficult for most clubs but once again the Circle bucked the trend providing a great race with only 3 members failing to time in.
The winning pigeon went to Peter Morris from Liverpool who timed a 3y old blue chequer widowhood cock flying 204 miles doing 1465. Peter wins the W E Evans Trophy, a Frank H Parsonage Award and the Albert Hitchen Award. The winning pigeon is a Leo Heremans x De Weerdt with the De Weerdt coming from the late Les Kilshaw who was one of the first fanciers to import this family of birds that did so much to help him win many top prizes in the Liverpool clubs. The build up for this pigeon, pared the 3rd week of January along with the rest of the race team and stock pigeons and allowed to rear youngsters. The race team are fed on two widowhood mixtures mixed together with a fat mix added prior to basketing. This has not been needed so much this season with the birds not going over the channel. This pigeon was caught by the hawk in the early part of the year with the whole of his crop being ripped open. Fellow club member Alan Jones helped Peter sew it up and as can be seen the pigeon repaid them both with this fine performance. Peter would like to thank Alan for his help with the operation as it was a two-man job. The widow cocks loft has a layer of sand on the floor to help keep it dry while all the other lofts widow hens, stock and young birds have grills on the floor.
Peter Morris winning Pigeon
Peter's interest in pigeons started when he was very young when he found a pair of wood pigeons that had fledged early and he brought them home and hand reared them, Peter recalls they were big birds that never flew but just walked about the garden. Like most kids around that time, they all had some form of livestock to look after, and while at secondary school there were 4 other boys in his school who had pigeons. The five of them would meet up at break time and after school would go to each other's set ups. As time moved on and Peter was in his teens, at school holidays Peter would stay with his Nan while his parents were away on holiday. This was the time when a small loft was built in the back garden but his mother being somewhat superstitious thought pigeons were bad luck and once home from holiday the loft would be broken up while he was at school. The loft building went on for a about three years or so but always with the same result. Around the age of 23 Peter had moved out and set up home in an apartment with a small balcony, he fixed nestboxes to the wall and a small makeshift loft for the youngsters and from there he was three times highest prize winner from this set up flying with Princess Park HS. Over the years he has flown to six different loft locations once with partner Mick Quinn when they put up some good winning performances over the years. Peter has lived at his present address since 2007 and makes the most of his small back garden which has lofts on three sides of it consisting of stock, widow cocks, widow hens, young birds and a small loft with a small team of late bred from last year purchased from R & B Smith which have been lightly trained this season.
Peter Robinson with pigeon
Second place went to one of our longer flyers Peter Robinson from Kendal who clocks a 3y old chequer cock on 1463 flying 271 miles that had been raced on widowhood the pigeon could be described as a little on the big side but sits well in the hand and well balanced. At the time of my visit, he had been back to the club race the following week when he took a little longer than expected but was in good shape and had been repaired ready for this next week's race. His sire is a mixture of birds raced by Peter while the dam came from an entire clearance sale purchased for Peter by Keith Nuttall from a fancier who had passed away Chris Mather, Chris flew a good pigeon from over the channel both with Darwen and Eagley clubs. This winning pigeon raced well as a young bird being in the clock several times, as a yearling he returned five days late from his second race with a very bad injury to his wing which took several weeks to mend and as a result was not race any more that season. Peter patience paid off as this season he has not put a foot wrong.
Peter has been around pigeons since he was in his teens when he was a great help to a former member of the Circle Dougie Todd and his helper George Shaw, it was from these two fanciers Peter gained his love of racing pigeons. He had some fond memories and recalled several stories from his teenage years spent with these old fanciers. He told me Dougie had a pigeon called Maggie who had flow the channel 3 time and won 3 first prizes George Shaw talked him into sending her to Nantes which turned out to be a stiff race and as the night drew on Dougie thought it might have been one race to many. Peter recalls he saw her some two miles out Doggie's eyes not being too good took some time before he spotted his beloved Maggie. She was never raced again and paired to several mates but sadly never bred a good pigeon. Peter has kept his pigeons at a number of sites over the years and for a short time was in partnership, every location was on an allotment which has meant travelling to attend to the birds. His present location is no different being a good 2 miles or so across town, a couple of seasons back he lost his driving licence through his diabetes for a short time and Lidia was a god send driving him across town to the birds and picking him up later. Peter is first to admit age is catching up on him and the secretary’s job he has held for more years than he cares to remember is getting more and more difficult and thinks this might be his last season in the job as it is now becoming more like work than a hobby. A few years back he was fortunate to buy some Lambrecht pigeons from a fellow club member who was packing up and since introducing them he has never looked back. All the race team are fed the same using Versele-Laga Superstar and Gery Plus along with Bamfords Diet 2000 and an energy mix added as the distance increases. Over the years Peter has entered several One Loft Races and has been on the winning end on a number of occasions his best performance being 1st in the RPRA race winning £21,000.
Bob Smith ==== OB Ventilation Bob Smith
Past President Bob Smith took the third diploma with a cracking yearling chequer hen doing a velocity of 1442 who was a first prizewinner last season as a young bird. Her nestmate sister won the Wigan Two Bird Club last season from Lyndhurst so she is full of winning genes. Her sire is a son of the Hilson cock when pared to a granddaughter of Hughie. Bob was telling me on the weekend of this race he had some great results with the other races he had on that day and looking at the performances on paper one would say a great racing day all round. But in reality, he has several birds missing many of which being past winners and can never remember a time when at this time of the season he was so down on pigeons, and this with no channel racing. As Bob said normally, he would have had five or six races from France and been in a better position than he is at present.
Taking the fourth spot on the result was John Dearden from Rochdale flying 231 miles on 1416. This was a good performance on the day being the only member on that side of the country flying into the wind. John entered two yearlings and thought they would be doing around the 50mph mark and was not too far off timing his first one in 4 hours 47 minutes with his second one over the pad just 16 minutes later. The first of these a blue cock raced on widowhood. This cock was bred by George Chalkley who has cone as a guest of John's for a good number of years. For the last few years, the Circle members have had a pair of youngsters for one of the guests which have been raced in the Friendship Race and this pigeon of John's was one of his from last year. His second in the clock a blue hen also on widowhood is from his old family and this pair was third in the Two Bird Average on 1376. As I said at the start of this article the circle members had an excellent race of what turned out to be a disaster of a weekend for most fanciers all over the country.
Fifth place on 1415 went to John Winstanley from Orrell a great area with a long history of good pigeon fanciers. John timed a 2y old blue hen flying 220 miles whose parentage comes from pigeons purchased from Jonathan Turner from Ashton-in-Makerfield who was giving up the sport and a number of his pigeons that he had bought from Foxwood Lofts came to John's place. She was raced this season on the roundabout and been in the first few too the loft on a number of occasions where the pigeons have been racing very well. John times his second pigeon 9 minutes later that was runner up to the Best Two Bird Average on 1392.
In Sixth spot was Keith Iddon racing in partnership with Rocket Ronnie Wilson from whom I got the following information. His first pigeon over the pad was one of the lofts foundation family of pigeons a 2y old blue Van Den Brande that has been a winning pigeon every year she has been raced doing 1402. A matter of 3 minutes later his second pigeon was over the pad this a 3y old blue hen from the same stable carrying his nomination for the Dickinson Trophy. As a young bird this pigeon was lost and found wondering around Bolton Shopping Centre by Tracy the better half of Mick Haslam, Ronnie was more than pleased to get her back but she was very run down and not raced as a youngster, but she has more that paid him back coming out as a yearling to win a number of top prizes always being in the first few to the loft. Ronnie sent Tracy some flowers in gratitude but Mick wondered at the time if she had a secret admirer. She has a number of Fed cards both as a yearling and a 2y old, Ronnie doesn't count the club positions as his local club now only has 4 flying members. These two pigeon’s performances win the Best Two Bird Average doing 1395 winning the Second Thoughts Trophy. This same trophy was won last season by Keith and Ronnie and the pigeon that was second in the clock this year was the same pigeon in the clock last Season.
It was nice to see Vinnie Donnelly at the race marking who came along to join us for lunch. Vinnie has had a short spell in hospital but look to be on the mend following the loss of his wife Brenda a short time ago.
Brian Dearn Tel. 01254 772515.