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A Tribute to Bob Carter 15-11-19




I was very saddened when I received the email from the Esher pigeon club secretary, Mike Charlton, informing me that club member, Bobby Carter, had passed away on 14th November after a long illness. Bobby had several times of serious ill health in his life, but being the strong-willed man, he was, he always kicked it off and got on with it. He was a fantastic pigeon race, but more importantly; he was a smashing man and would help anyone in trouble. Bobby flew his pigeons with outstanding success in partnership with his wife, Linda and his son, Danny and won the Three Borders Federation many times over the years. Bobby, Linda and Danny Carter are three of nicest people you will ever meet in the sport of pigeon racing.


The 2008 season saw the Carter family win the ‘Individual Point Trophy’ in the Three Borders Federation and the ‘Ken Besant Memorial Trophy’ for best Federation pigeon of the 2016 season, with their good widowhood cock, ‘0479’ and he recorded 1st, 1st, 5th, 6th, 14th, 23rd Federation to lift the trophy. Brilliant pigeon racing! Bob Carter was born in Battersea, London and obtained his first pigeons at the age of nine, and kept them with his friend, Donald Hawes. Their first birds were from Bill Patterson of Benfield Street and he sold them four pigeons for two shillings. The first loft was an 8ft x 10ft structure; sited in the back yard of the butcher’s shop and he raced mainly Sam Mayo’s Vandy pigeons. Bob remembered another Battersea fancier, Billy Colston, helped them get started with pigeons and their first winner, a blue cock bird was a gift from Billy.


The cock was an Amule pigeon from the stock of the best local fancier in the 1980’s, ‘Scrubber’ Cook of Battersea and in those days,  they flew as Hawes Bros & Carter in the old Putney RPC. Bob’s uncle, Bob Taylor, was a very successful pigeon racer and years ago he flew in the Old Man’s Institute Club. Bob’s wife, Linda, was very keen on the pigeons and her father, George Atkins of Battersea, was also a very good fancier. From 1981 Bob raced with the help of his wife, Linda, as he worked all day on a Saturday in the butcher’s shop and she clocked in the winners racing on the natural system. In 1990 he started too raced in partnership with Steven Cook and raced the Barry Hall pigeons on the widowhood, with brilliant results. The year 1996 saw Bob become very ill and had to pack up his pigeons but left his best birds in the care of a friend in the hope that he would return to the sport.


Bob Carter


In 1998 he had a lung transplant because he had Emphysema and luckily for Bob and his family the operation was successful, and it gave him his life back. As he got stronger, he wanted to get back into pigeon racing and top fancier and friend, Fred Roberts, said he would help him get back. They flew as Roberts & Carter and started by flying darkness youngsters in 1999, winning five times 1st Federation in seven races with the Barry Hall and Kenny Roberts pigeons. Bringing the story up to date, Bob had two partners in recent years in the form of his son, Daniel, and Ronnie Keeley, and they were the Three Borders Federation ‘Individual Points’ Champions of 2008. Bob said at that time that Ronnie had been a silent partner for about eight years and without his help he could not have kept the team of birds they had then and be so successful. Previous to racing with Bob Carter partnership, Ronnie raced with Johnny Barrett and had great success for over 20 years racing together as Barrett & Keeley. 


Bob told me at that that over the last 25 years he had purchased a lot of good birds off Barry Hall of Rayleigh in Essex, including pigeons to produce club, Federation and Open race winners. One of the most outstanding Barry Hall pigeons was the mealy cock, Champion ‘Rayleigh’, and he won eight firsts in the club and three firsts in the London Federation for Bobby. The Carter loft had won about six other Federation races with Barry’s pigeons, including two 1st Federation winners in the 2008 season. Bob first met Barry Hall in 1984 when he sold the Carter butcher shops and went to work at Smithfield meat market in London and said he had never looked back with his pigeon racing.


He advised Bob on the widowhood system and supplied him with the birds to do the job. Another good friend who had advised the Carters with his pigeon health theory through the years is David Cook. The main families raced at the Carter’s loft were Lefebre Dhaenens, Janssen and Maurice Vereheye. In recent seasons an outstanding family of Gaby Vandenabeele pigeons had been purchased from Dighton & Lister of York and Dave Hawkins of Yorkshire and these birds won premier Federation positions from the outset for Bob Carter. Bob enjoyed all racing from 80 through to 450 miles and told me his biggest thrill in recent seasons was to see the great grandchildren of his wonderful Champion ‘Rayleigh’ win the Federation.


His most thrilling experience was a few years ago, when he raced with Fred Roberts and they flew their young bird team on the darkness system. On one race they had nine birds drop on the loft together, all nine were clocked to take the first nine positions in the West Middlesex Federation and then went on to take first six and the first three positions in the Federation that same season. Through the years Bob had won the Federation countless times! Our sincere condolences to the Carter family at this very sad time, from Betty and me. Bobby Carter RIP.