A TRIBUTE TO ANDY KYRIACOU OF RICHMOND.
I received a phone call from Andy Kyriacou’s daughter, Maria-Anna, to tell me he had passed away at the age of 73, after some ill health on 25th March. It was very sad to hear this news, as Andy was such a nice man and was well respected in the local pigeon racing fraternity. I met his several times and the first time in 2012 when he came to my home in Claygate with his good friend, Roy Barnett, to have his Three Borders Federation winner photographed for an article.
Andy was born in Cyprus and came to live in the London area just after the war in the 1940’s. His dad served in the British army and as a lad Andy keep rabbits, as most households then did, for the table. A pigeon fancier named Len Toomey lived just the street from the Kyriacou home and he started the young Andy off in pigeon by gifting him two pairs of white Logan pigeons. He was hooked on pigeons from day one and his first loft was a small converted garden shed. He soon wanted to race his birds and joined the Willesden Premier Club, which at that time had 150 members on their books. Andy told me in those days all the local clubs were huge and the member used to contribute money and pay the annual subscription for any young lads who wanted to join. The Kyriacou family lived in Willesden, which was a hot bed of pigeon racing after the war and a local fancier gifted Andy a Sky Master clock, so he was up and runner in no time. He had his first pigeons at the age of 12 and won his first race in the Willesden North Road club at the age of 14, and recalls it was one of the short sprint races. All the young lads used to go to all London clubs in the lorry on marking night to pick up the birds and take them to Kings Cross station, and then load them on to the train, to take them to the race point. Andy says it was brilliant fun when he was a kid and pigeons keep the lads out of trouble! Andy Kyriacou joined the Richmond club after the Putney club disbanded, which he had been a member of for many years. He was a founder member of the old Putney club and said it was a sad day when it packed up. On joining the Richmond club he met and formed a partnership with the late, Peter Wilson, who was at one time the secretary of the old Richmond North Road club. Peter Wilson was a larger than life character and his pigeon partnership with Andy proved very successful. They won several top races, including the only two birds on the day from Fraserburgh and these were clocked within 30 second of one another. Andy said he had never kept records of his pigeon racing wins but showed me a big stack of racing results and he had certainly been an outstanding fancier over the years.
The Three Borders Federation had its second channel race of the 2012 racing season from Messac and encountered yet another really hard race, with Andy Kyriacou of Richmond winning the Three Borders Federation and 2nd open SMT Combine. Andy’s winner was his nice little two year old blue chequer, ‘Carol’s Girl’, which he has named after his wife, Carol, who he said was a great help with the pigeons. He told me at the time, Carol would not own a loft of pigeons, but would always help out if needed with feeding, exercise and general loft management. ‘Carol’s Girl’ was bred from a Dutch stock cock that Andy purchased in 2003 when mated to a hen from his old Jim Dursley of Millwall family, which had been very successful since he brought them in in 1972. Andy had always been a natural racer, but since meeting his good friend, Roy Barnett of Kingston, about four year previous he had been on the roundabout system. Roy showed Andy the system, including the feeding and training, and he had been very successful. The Federation winning hen was paired up on 14th February, with all the other racers, and reared two babies, and had every inland Federation race before the Messac race. Andy said in his opinion the roundabout system got the best out of the cocks and hens, where the widowhood is only a good system for cock birds.
Andy ran his own fish and chip shop in Putney for over 25 years and it was site just up the road from the Putney pigeon club, and on Friday and Saturday nights it was always full with local pigeon fancier. He told me he would like to see more young people come in the sport, but said it is an electronic age and kids these days are more interested in computers than hobbies like fishing and pigeon racing. Andy had a few health issues and had to go and live abroad in the winter months every year, and Roy Barnett looked after his pigeons for him. When ‘Carol’s Girl’ won the Federation from Messac, Roy Barnett was 4th Federation with his good blue pied cock, ‘Charlie Chaplin’, and he was bred by Andy Kyriacou. Brilliant stuff! Andy had bred several good pigeons for Roy in recent seasons including the super two year old blue cock, ‘Andy’s Boy’, and he was the Alencon specialist, winning: 2012: 1st club, 2nd Three Borders Federation, 3rd SMT Combine Alencon: 2011: 1st club, 10th Three Borders Federation, 14th SMT Combine Alencon. There you have it, the late Andy Kyriacou, a really nice man and premier pigeon racer. RIP.
KEITH MOTT (March 2020)