I was recently asked why I have taken on a variety of positions in the pigeon world over the years, why have I not stuck to one job, the only way to learn is have a go at everything. The longest job was when I was secretary of the Mid Cheshire Fed and it got that I felt I was not giving it 100% after being there for over a decade, so resigned only to go back at the request of the Chairman to sort a few thigs out so I gave them another two years.
If you are putting in 110% and going that extra mile on any job you take on you are going to get to the position where you start to take everything for granted and then things start to go wrong, especially when you have a full-time job as well. I have never wanted to put myself into that position so have moved on and let someone else take the position on. I always feel that is the reason why some fail in whatever position they take on, they do a good job but become too complacent and before they know it, they have lost control of the job and find it hard to get back to where they need to be.
In the local Middlewich FC, they are working the whole job between themselves and it looks to be going well with no particular individual being put on which ultimately leads to them walking away from the work that is needed at any given time. Years ago, fanciers would take the jobs on and keep them for years, but times have changed, and people are under more stress than ever. A job-sharing club is always going to be better than a one person run club when members can be left waiting for one thing or another.
The organisations that I have been involved in over the years have always gone well and I think that is down to having a good team working together which makes life easier, plus the fact that I have never let myself get stale in any one job. I have to say I have stuck to the website job because I retired from work and there is a lot of variety with it, so your interest is kept up. There are some good officials about but there are also some who could do better and if they did, they would strengthen the organisations they are involved in. From my own point of view I have rarely had less than three jobs on the go at any given time which is probably why I have taken the break's that I have.
Even with writing I have taken breaks, but always missed it because I have to be doing something and keeping my mind going. Problem is I do not check things like I used to do and the two previous articles that I sent off had a section that had been in the previous week, don’t know if the BHW picked it up because I have not had my paper yet, it was Kim who pointed it out.
Import or export of racing pigeons.
It looks like the price is going to dramatically shoot up so there are going to be an awful lot of fanciers who will no longer be able to import pigeons from their friends on the continent. There are always going to be some who can easily afford to bring in new continental stock but there are far more who cannot. Will it make any difference to fanciers, I do not think so because there are plenty of pigeons here in the UK for fanciers to look at and try? I remember many years ago when asked where the best pigeons are, Jim Biss pointed out that they are here in the UK. We go back to the same old thing, pigeon fanciers are like the ladies, they want the latest fashion (from the continent) whether it is any good or not. I know that through selling pigeons on the auction site we have already had sales cancelled because of the increase in the cost of exporting, they are working on the cost of imports going up.
I was talking to Mark Walker recently and he does not see a light at the end of the tunnel for exporting pigeons from the UK, it will come but when is another matter. This is another of those cases where the bureaucrats know nothing about the job, other than sticking their nose in to upset others. There is no valid reason why we cannot continue to export as long as the paperwork is correct.
I never want to see entire clearance sales within the sport, but I am aware that for one reason or another they are going to happen. I am currently in the process of working with fellow scribe Joe Murphy on selling his late son Kevin's pigeons. It is with doing such sales that you can see the route fanciers have taken, especially when such sales as this one come along. Through the pigeons they have, you can see that Kevin and Joe were working on the National type pigeons and they were achieving success that would no doubt have improved because they have such a good team. It is also obvious that they are not like so many lofts where they are generations away from the winners. What I have also seen going through the sale is that there are club pigeons in there that are there to keep an interest throughout the season, that is good management. Still with the pigeons of Kevin & Joe, I have included a couple of real gems. One being “Sarah” with an eye that I would love to have in the stock loft with another being “My Little Rachel” both have real depth to their eye’s which is why I would like them in the stock loft.
"Sarah" & "My Little Rachel"
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned generations of families who have kept pigeons to which I had a letter from probably Winsford’s best known name in the sport. The Lever family were at the top of their game when I first started racing pigeons in Middlewich in the late 60’s. This is what Toby Lever had to say. “After reading your column about families in the pigeon world, it brings back thoughts of the ones in Winsford to name a few we have the Lambs, Woodward’s, Wigley’s, old Frank Wigley raced birds with the old Manchester FC along with local JP RG Barton. Later Ken Wigley raced with Winsford also Joe and Sid Whitney, Henry Sidall won Middlewich 2 Bird Marrenes only bird on the day in the fifties. Today we have H Bratt & Son Melvin, Mick & Margaret O'Grady Mike, Keith, Chris Hitchin. Let us all hope and pray Melvin Recovers from his recent health problems. My own family of Leavers began in the 1920s, my father Albert (senior) born in 1907 and passed away in 1995. He raced in 1921 with Winsford when he was 14years old he won Middlewich 2 bird 5 times 4 at 500miles his best distance hen was a Sion she won 1st Middlewich 2B Saintes only 2 on the day 2nd Sec 8th Open MNFC Angouleme only two in Sec 22 in the open on the day. Then 2nd Sec 13 open MNFC Nantes, she was a great hen and all in the North East Winds. His best asset was my mother Lizzie who was his loft manager through the war years many did say it was here who won the races, she passed away in 1961 at the young age of 52 great big loss. Now onto my dad's nephew the late Tom Lever he was a member of the Old Star FC which he thought by flying with the Old Wrekin Fed was the main reason why he won 1st Sec L Nantes & 1st Sec Open Pau. He only kept 12 pairs of Natural birds. The Pau hen was half Dordin from John Icke of Woore. Now we come to maybe the last in the line Myself I am now 85 years young and still fly as A Lever Junior. I cycled to Winsford Train Station many times with a 30-bird basket when only 16, no cars then. When I married, a day of my honeymoon was spent with A R Hill of St Just Cornwall. They were great Kirkpatrick's my old dad had just introduced them in 1966. Myself, I have always had distance races on my mind 700miles NFC in 1981. I won 5 Sec L NFC Pau after finding it on the loft next morning at 8.30am. In 2000 I timed two birds in 6 mins. I have also 3 x 2nds with Middlewich 2 Bird, which was one of the best 2B clubs in Cheshire, flying against many top fanciers. Well, Les I thank you, that is enough of the Levers and the old times racing pigeons in Winsford. Let us just hope times change for the better very soon. Yours. A Lever (Jnr)”
Yes Toby even in my early days in Middlewich there were many fanciers who were hard to beat. The Mid Cheshire Fed was a hotbed of fanciers competing in races from club to National and getting up amongst them year after year. The likes of the legendary George Stubbs of Sandbach and his arch-rival Jack Bates were never far away when the National races came along, and it was their competitiveness against each other that made so good. I was at Jack’s place not long before he passed away and I asked him about how he and George got on. He said that they were best of friends, it was only in the minds of others that they never got on with each other.
Les J Parkinson.
11 Rushton Drive,
Tel: 01606836036 - Mobile: 07871701585.