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Parkinson L. J.



Parkinson LJ


In my notes on the Blackpool weekend I mentioned meeting a couple of young fanciers who came from St Andrews Primary School where they had a racing loft. The school lofts are an unbelievable story when you think about how they have benefitted and given the sport so much good publicity. St Andrews Primary School joined Oswaldtwistle Homing Society racing just 5 Vandenabeele young birds to a 5ft x 3ft loft. In their second race they were 1st 2nd 3rd and 5th and if their fifth bird could have been allowed to be clocked it would have been 6th.which has resulted in a tremendous amount of publicity for the school the club and sport of racing pigeons appearing on BBC TV 6.O Clock News. Channel 5. Social Media. Pigeon Chat and featured in an article in the Sunday Telegraph and local press and as a result have received an invitation to visit the Royal Lofts at the Sandringham Estate when a coach load of children and teachers will visit in April. The school has had an amazing season being second highest prize winner in a club with 30 Lofts and winning 8 trophies and nearly £600 in prize money. They have also won the RPRA award for best performance by a school in the U.K and North West Region award for Young Fancier of the year. The 8 trophies included Young Bird Knock Out Competition against 22 members. Runner Up Young Bird Average and Runner Up Young Bird Points and Young Bird of the Year.

 The other school Longshaw Junior School have also been a great success doing well and in three years have been promoted each year, starting in Division 4 and will race in Division 1 this year. This is a rare public success story for the sport and all those connected with it need congratulating in showing how good racing pigeons is to the general public. Such success stories need encouraging to keep going and, in the hope, that there are more children at the school looking at what is already happening on their doorstep. This success needs to go out to as many schools as possible and see if anymore will take up the sport. The RPRA could have a video/DVD made and send it out to schools with an information sheet. To cover expenses the RPRA subs could go up £1 with that money going into a fund to help those who need it to get their lofts started. I am sure there are enough out there who would sponsor such a fund, Elimar certainly would. What about the public auctions at the Blackpool show paying a 1% fee to such a fund, after all they are using the Show for financial gain, and before someone passes comment I have already said Elimar Auctions would make a good donation. At Elimar we are already sponsoring the Royal Cheshire Show, The Nantwich Show and the Middlewich FC. It is always nice to put something back into the sport you love so much. I am told that more information will be forthcoming on the very good job they are doing at the school.



Millie Anne Coleman

 Still about young fanciers I received a couple of photos of young Millie Anne Coleman who, will be flying in her own right this year for the first time, I have not seen this anywhere else at the time of writing which is why I have included it. The photos are from Freddie Hadley at the Dover District Racing Club. Freddie went on to say, “Most of you will be aware of the sport that dates back many years. In the number of years, the sport has rapidly declined due to mainly costs and I personally think the lack of support given to young fanciers that are looking to take up a keen interest within the sport of Pigeon Racing. I myself when I was younger was very lucky as my sport and passion was funded by certain individuals who still to this day am very thankful for and would never have been able to achieve the results or be in the position, I am today without them. I would like to bring to your attention a new member to Dover District Racing Pigeon Club, Millie Anne Coleman aged 6 years, she has a keen passion and interest within the sport as you can see below from the pictures, very cheeky I am sure you will all agree” This is what I like to see in the sport and one of those cases where the RPRA could reach out and help. I also think youngsters like Millie should have free admission to clubs as part of the incentive to race pigeons, after all someone has to pay the bills. 

Royal Stoke University Hospital

 In the early part of January 2018 Dave Healey from Middlewich was going through a rough patch and spent quite some time in hospital. He started at Leighton Hospital Crewe where they were not doing him any favours but was then transferred to Ward 24 at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in Newcastle, Staffs where they set about resolving the problem. He spent 8 weeks in the hospital during which time there was a great deal of concern for the way his health was going. Dave way saying he felt the medical staff there worked hard on him and pulled him round for which he will be eternally grateful. Wife Lynn was lucky with having family and friends around who helped her out and took her to see Dave more or less on a daily basis. One of those people was friend Jimmy Smith who covered many miles to and from the hospital and without him Lynn would have, to say the least, struggled. We very often wonder where the donations from the BHW Blackpool event go to, and are they any benefit to pigeon fanciers, well now we know, one of our own has benefited. Or should I say Ward 24 were in a small way rewarded for the time they spent getting Dave back to the pigeon loft which he could not do before he went into hospital. The BHW Show of the Year sent a cheque for £1,500 to the ward in their appreciation for the work they do. In the photo we have Jimmy Smith, Dave Healey and Ward Manager Sally Appleton.

Jimmy Smith, Dave Healey and Ward Manager Sally Appleton

 How Do You Prepare The Pigeons? 

This is the time of year when fanciers very often ask about preparing the pigeons for the races, the thought comes to mind, “You should have been thinking about that a few months ago” I say that because there is a need to make some important decisions regarding breeding in the likes of October/November. That is where the preparation starts for the race team; we cannot leave everything to chance. It is a fact that many close their lofts up over winter and never have their birds out because they have work commitments, probably not many currently but some do. There are fanciers who like to keep them in over the winter months as a part of their preparation for the following season, this being a total rest period. To do that you have got to watch the feeding and make sure they do not put on a lot of weight which takes some getting off if they are treated properly. A lot obviously depends on when you are pairing the birds up, there is no doubt that some will have their first round moved by mid-January, if not a little bit earlier. Working on what I would do now 2019; I would have the birds ready for pairing in the old-fashioned way, that would be as near to the 14th Feb as possible. Yes, for the younger members of the sport that is the date when nearly everyone used to pair their birds in my early days of racing pigeons. I have to say I didn’t because I was keen in my younger days and couldn’t wait to see them in the nest and struggling to get rings on because the post was late due to bad weather. Yes, due to bad weather, 50yrs ago we would have far more of the bad weather than we do today where global warming is in command. You would spend most of the winter changing water because it was so often frozen. Some fanciers used to have a small night light hanging over the water so that it did not freeze and that was in the daytime not night. I do think those early young birds were a bit stronger than they are today, they had more resistance against anything that the present-day youngsters don’t appear to have, and I am not only referring to the pigeons. When I was at school I would get out of bed in a morning and had to scrape the ice off the windows on the inside never mind the outside, we didn’t have the luxury of central heating in those days. It would snow for most of the winter and we used to turn the snow into slides on the road, but there were nowhere near as many vehicles on the road as they are today. No matter what the weather was like I cannot recall the school closing because there were a few inches of snow on the ground, today it’s all down the health and safety, which has gone mad. When it comes to breeding the winter is far milder now than it used to be, you only have a few days of snow and freezing weather at a time instead of weeks of it. Let’s get back to pigeons and what we would be doing at this time of the year. The first thing is to make sure the pigeons don’t go hungry because it is not a great feeling as a human to have an empty belly when the weather is down to freezing. Keep an eye on the birds going to nest and also see that there is plenty of corn for the young birds that are in the nest. Keep an eye on the droppings, they will tell you if they are going in the right direction, they will also show if the youngsters have been left too long in the cold without being covered. Keep a steady flow on grits and minerals available but keep an eye on what they are eating because sometimes they will eat too much when they are feeding youngsters. If they are eating too much of them then it is a sign that there could be a problem with them. Give them a good based cider vinegar to keep the stomach right and the acids down. If you get all this right the young birds will be OK, and it will help to keep the old birds right while they are feeding. If the old birds are right while they are feeding young, then they are on the right track for the racing season. Someone once told me that rearing a pair of young birds is like competing in a 500ml race. After that it all depends on what system you are racing your birds on. If widowhood, then the youngsters need to be out of the nest earlier. If you are racing on the natural system, then it does help if you are starting to train the cocks while they are finishing off the young and going to nest again, they are keener to get home. Getting them on that second round of eggs and the young away means that you can train both the cocks and hens. The problem racing on the natural is the hens are never always available therefore you have to consider how many weeks you are racing the cocks, after all if you want to compete the programme there is no point burning them out too early in the year.

 Les J Parkinson.

11 Rushton Drive,

 Middlewich, Cheshire,

 CW10 0NJ

01606836036 Mobile 07871701585.

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