TRIBUTE TO BOB ALTY OF STEVENAGE.
I received a phone call from my good friend, Mike Shepherd, today to inform me that our mutual friend, Bob Alty had passed away on Monday 15th March, after a short illness. I have known Bob Alty for many years and he was one of the great workers in pigeon racing and one the sport’s un-sung heroes! For many years he was one of the main people running the busy London & South East Classic Club Stevenage marking station and in later years helped to run the British Barcelona Club station at Walkern. Bob put so much time into working for the sport that he found it hard to find time for his own birds, but still manages to produce some premier performances in his beloved long distance races each year. Bobby was a great pigeon racer and worker for our sport, but more importantly he was a smashing man, and will be greatly missed! Sincere condolences to Bobby’s family from Betty and myself.
A few seasons ago the UBI Combine sent 767 birds to Poitiers (380 miles) in France for its big event and the members enjoyed a good steady fly, with the convoy being liberated at 06.00hrs in a west wind. Sending only a small team, Bobby Alty won the Combine on a good steady velocity of 1201 ypm. The pigeon that everyone talked about is Bob Alty’s fantastic champion ‘Barcelona Bob B’ and he had a long list of top prizes won in National and Classic races, including flying Barcelona (732 miles) three times. This wonderful four year old blue chequer cock was a Jan Aarden and both his parents were obtained from Bob Beetham of North End, near Stevenage, hence the ‘Bob B’ in the champ’s name. He was lost off the top of the loft as a young bird and returned two weeks before the first race, to be trained up and race the full young bird Federation programme. Bob told me the chequer cock had never slipped up or looked back since his time out of the loft as a youngster and raced best when feeding two big youngsters and sitting eggs. Racing on the natural system, ‘Barcelona Bob B’ had won: 2013: 4th open BBC Niort (384 miles), 2012: 6th open BBC Barcelona (732 miles), 2011: 26th open BBC Palamos (708 miles), 2011: 65th open BBC Poitiers (367 miles), 2011: 79th open BBC Messac (289 miles), 2010: 164th open BBC Poitiers (367 miles): 2011: 244th open BBC Messac (289 miles), 2012: 307th open BBC Carentan (183 miles), 2013: flew BBC Barcelona (732 miles). A fantastic long distance racer!
The pigeon bug gripped Bob when he was a seven year old lad living in his birth place, Liverpool, and had been in pigeon racing over 70 years. He told me he was walking along the sea side beach one day in the North of England and a lump of oil on the sand moved, and it was a racing pigeon. He picked it up and took it home to revive it, and from that moment was hooked on pigeons! Bob joined his first club in Liverpool and his first winner was a Kirkpatrick red pied hen and she won from Whitchurch. Bob’s job was a fire man stoker on the old steam trains and after racing his pigeons for 12 years in Liverpool he moved south with his job, but tell me he was bored when the electric train came in so came out of the railways. He said in the old days pigeon racing was friendlier, but maintains the ETS was a good step forward, although he still enjoyed recording his long distance birds on clock and rubbers. Bob was a member of his local Walkern club and the 2013 season saw him win the Falaise race with a sister to ‘Barcelona Bob B’, and he was a keen member of the British Barcelona Club. He told me, a few years ago, when he was 100% in to the racing side of the sport he owned a good Busschaert chequer hen that was home to win nine inland races, but her trapping wasn’t too hot and finished up recorded three times 1st club, three times 2nd club and three times 3rd club. Needless to say Bob had a long list of jobs in the sport including: President, Chairman and chief clock setter at the local Walkern club and was one of the main workers for the BBC marking station, as he was for the L&SECC for many years. He was a great bloke and has been a tireless worker for our sport for many years. Bobby Alty RIP.
KEITH MOTT (March 2021)