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by John Ghent

December 2012

I have been enjoying the articles, write-ups and loft reports that I have been fortunate enough to compile and they have allowed me to get inside the minds of some of the UK's best long and marathon distance fanciers. I cannot tell you how much I smile when I wake up in the morning, reach for the iPhone or iPad in a bleary eyed state, and see emails from Keith Bush, Alwyn Hill, Nigel Lane, Steve White, just to mention a few!


The Backyard Marathon Challenge Series is coming together nicely and it will be good to look back in years to come at my own little documented diary on my journey to hopefully clocking from Barcelona. The Unsung Superbirds still has a lot of mileage I believe and hopefully there will be some more people come forward to add some fuel to the fire of that particular series. That said I feel now is the time to get "back to my roots", as Ali G once said, and start to continue the promotion of the Leicestershire and the Midlands that my Grandad did so well for many years as the scribe otherwise known as "The Farmer".


As many of you will know due to his health my Grandad ceased writing a year or two ago and since then Leicestershire has not been covered to the same degree. Well hopefully that can now be put right because as well as continuing my feature articles which as I have already said I thoroughly enjoy, I am re-launching "Leicestershire Notes" and look forward to having as much help as possible from everyone within the County and also the surrounding Counties. My aims will be to highlight the race results as most good scribes do but also show people what this county is all about, we have some excellent flyers that have put up some superb performances within the Midland National in the last few years and I hope that success continues within that club and also within the BBC, especially with the new marking station being launched at Louella Pigeon World. I am also going to delve into the history of the County's fliers, with the help of my Grandad and other fanciers who have been around, walked the walk, and worn the t-shirt! So welcome back to "Leicestershire Notes", good luck in the off season, I hope to see as many of you as soon as possible, and for my first "Lesson From Leicestershire" I am going to have a look at the amazing season Leicestershire fanciers had within the MNFC.


From the first race to the last race, Leicestershire fanciers really proved themselves in this season's MNFC. Pat McGonigle opened up proceedings with a Section win and 10th Open against over 5,600 birds from Carentan at the end of May and we were extremely delighted to have Pat come and present the prizes for us at the South Leicester Presentation evening. The next race on the calendar was the much anticipated Fougeres Jubilee Race which attracted over 5,400 birds and a fantastic performance by Chris and Denise Sutton of Markfield to take 1st and 2nd Section, 3rd and 5th Open, just one of several tremendous performances from this partnership in 2012 and although a second section win eluded them for the rest of the year, I think Chris and Denise should be delighted with the performances they put together this year amongst very strong competition.


We then moved onto Tours. About 2 or 3 weeks before the Tours race I was sat with John Havens of Whitwick, in his back garden, and I quote, "this is the worst national season I have had since being on the South road." How things can change! John did not quite make the top of the tree from Tours, that duty was left to my good friends Scott and Lance of the Summers Brothers and Daughter partnership from the South Leicester Club and Scott tells me there were many people at their house that day to witness their 2 year old blue cock land after the 371 mile journey from France which also landed the Braunstone team 7th Open. John recorded 2nd Section, 23rd Open from the 3,981 birds entered and this is not the last we would hear of the Whitwick man in the MNFC season!

Scott Summers holding 1st Section 704 birds 7th open 3975 birds, 371 miles, 1445 ypm.

Pat Frisby was flying the Leicestershire flag from the Bordeaux Blue Riband and duly obliged with 3 of his 6 entries recording 7th, 9th, 10th Section and 21st, 52nd, 63rd Open with John Murphy taking 11th Section, 65th Open. So after 3 successive Section victories for Leicestershire fanciers it was time to hand over the reigns to the West of the Section for the Section victory and Open victory and congratulations to Mr Jackson for this achievement, as well to Lol Turner for his magnificent performance from Bordeaux. The double header weekend also featured Vire and despite a Derbyshire postcode, the Passey family are firmly in Leicestershire and once again planted the Leicestershire flag back into the section with 1st Section, 4th Open from Vire to cap an excellent season for this strong family unit in North West Leicestershire.


The young bird races were now upon us and two familiar names cropped up again, John Havens with the Section win, pipping the Sutton partnership by less than 1 yard, giving Leicestershire another 1st and 2nd Section, Chris and Denise also taking 3rd and 4th Section, with Billy Marbrow, John's close friend, taking 5th Section. So not only did the first 5 places in the section come from Leicestershire, but from the same postcode of LE67!! The conditions were against the South Central Section in this race from Chale and John secured 51st Open with Chris and Denise taking 52nd Section with their first bird. That brings us back to where we started at Carentan and a new name towards the top of the list as although the Section winner was, for just the 2nd time this season, outside Leicestershire, John Fletcher popped up with 2nd Section from North France, and he was followed by Chris and Denise Sutton in 4th Section, John Murphy in 6th Section, John Havens once again high up the result in 8th Section, Mr Walker in 10th Section, and another clubmate of mine, Ken Chapman in 11th Section.

Denise Sutton holding "Michelle", a top Midland National performer for the husband and wife team.

Chris with 3rd Open 1st Section Fougeres 2012.


A fantastic season for the Leicester lads and lasses I am sure you will agree and I am sure we are all looking forward to see if these results can be improved upon in 2013. A special mention to Pat Frisby, 1st Ace Long Distance Pigeon South Central section, and to John Murphy, 2nd in the same category. Both of these birds finished in the Top 100 in the Open result at both Carentan and Bordeaux, superb flying by two quality fanciers and two excellent birds.


So if you have any information relating to Leicestershire that you would like published then please forward it to me. I will obviously be looking to compile race results as discussed and there are a few other ideas in the pipeline to compliment both the MNFC and the new BBC station so keep your eyes on the press, 2013 is going to be massive for Leicestershire.



83, Newport Street




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