“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.
C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show.
The C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show staged annually by members of the Horsham R.P.C. has become one of the major winter show events in the South of England and in recent years the event at a new venue, The Y.M.C.A. Football Ground, Gorings Mead, Horsham. All previous shows had been held at the Barnes Green Village Hall, which had always proved to be a good venue, but the facilities at the new Y.M.C.A. venue are much better. The format of the show was the same for many years with five handling classes and eyesign, with extra Show Racer classes being added in recent seasons. For many years the show secretaries were, Gordon and Delia Marsh, with Clive Turner taking over the job in about 2013. Let’s remind ourselves why the Horsham club stages this great show every January:
C.H.A.S.E. Children's Hospice Service is dedicated to the support of children who are not expected to reach their 19th birthday. For these children there is, at present, no hope of cure but they and their families still need care and support over the course of the life ahead of them. Ever since 1994 C.H.A.S.E. has been dedicated to the support of life-limited children and their families in Surrey, South-West London and parts of West Sussex. C.H.A.S.E. offers this vital service at no cost to the families 24 hours a day, every day of the year, in whatever way it is needed, emotionally or practically, at home or at Christopher's - the purpose-built children's hospice just outside Guildford. The life-limited children who C.H.A.S.E. supports suffer from a wide variety of conditions, sometimes genetic and often progressively degenerative. This means they need constant care, sometimes for many years, placing an enormous emotional, physical and financial strain on their families. C.H.A.S.E. offers respite and support that helps strengthen families and allows them to give their children the best quality of life. C.H.A.S.E. goes right to the crucial point of need - the home. Dedicated help is given in the family's own home, starting immediately after diagnosis, through bereavement and beyond. This practical and emotional support is provided by a multi disciplined and specially trained team of professionals. This support complements existing services from nurses, therapists, social workers and others.
Christopher’s Children’s Hospice a purpose-built hospice, was designed to provide a home from home, where families can stay or take a much-needed break by allowing the C.H.A.S.E. Care Team to follow their child's routine. Christopher's also creates the opportunity for families to have fun together - that essential ingredient of any childhood. In addition to nine bedrooms, there are several play and therapeutic facilities: hobbies, multi-sensory, computer and soft-play rooms; a teenage den; hydrotherapy pool and Jacuzzi; sensory courtyard and outdoor play area. Christopher's provides families with time and space to make the most of the precious time with their life-limited child. With its atmosphere of warmth and welcome, Christopher's provides a safe place to rest and recharge.
One of the early C.H.A.S.E Charity Shows organized by Gordon and Delia Marsh and the members of the Horsham club was in 2005 and was held at the Barns Green Village Hall. It was a smashing little venue for the show set in leafy countryside, which came to life when all the pigeon fanciers turned up with their birds to support the C.H.A.S.E. Charity. The show that year had an entry of 280 birds and judges were John Puddephatt, Doug Gatland, Paul Rennison, Roy Underdown and a special guest was Albert Harley, who traveled over from Guernsey to judge. It was great to Albert on the day as he was the liberation site agent on Guernsey for many years and we went back many years, working together on the site. I was the convoyer of the London & South East Classic Club for nine years and took the young birds to Guernsey fifteen times, so Albert and I were good friends.
The late Ian Crammond of Fontwell had a brilliant day, winning ‘Best in Show’ and lifting all of the show trophies with the exception of two. Ian was a wonderful pigeon racer and won many National, Classic and Federation races in his 60 years in the sport. In later years he had a great partner in Nigel Langstaff and the name Crammond & Langstaff became a ‘household’ name in the pigeon racing fraternity. I won ‘Best Opposite Sex’ and ‘Best Young Bird’ that day and lifted the two other trophies, with a young Eric Cannon blue hen named, ‘Foxwarren Lyric’. My dad passed away in 2004 and my brother, Phil and I purchased two ‘Fred Mott Memorial’ cups, presenting one to the Three Borders Federation and the other to the C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show for the ‘Best Young Bird’. It was very pleasing for us both that day, as I went down to Barnes Green to try and win dad’s cup and ‘Foxwarren Lyric’ was the first pigeon to win it.
Every January everyone was looking forward to the C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show and Auction, but in 2008 we had a ‘heart stopping’ scare when there was a ‘bird flu’ outbreak in Weymouth on the Thursday before the event. We kept logging on to the DEFRA website on the Friday, fully expecting them to stop all the shows as they did in November, but to every ones delight DEFRA decided to just ban bird movement and gatherings in the local area of the outbreak. At last common sense had prevailed and the C.H.A.S.E. Show and the BHW Blackpool Show the following week were saved and enjoyed great success. I must say, it was great to have the shows go ahead, but how must John Robilliard and all our Show Racer friend in the West Country feel, having their events cancelled with the outbreak in November? Pretty dam bad, I would think!
The 2008 C.H.A.S.E. Show was held at the Horsham YMCA Football Club and is put on by the Horsham Pigeon Club, under the leadership of Show Secretaries, Gordon and Delia Marsh. Betty and I had the great pleasure of being invited as guests of honour to the Horsham club’s 2007 prize presentation and enjoyed a brilliant evening in the company of these great pigeon people. I consider several pigeon clubs to be very special in our sport and the Horsham RPC is one of them! It’s a quality pigeon club, with quality fanciers and has a good long friendly and family orientated tradition. The club holds the now famous C.H.A.S.E. Charity show every January and have raised thousands of pounds for the children’s hospice at Godalming over the last twenty years. It is a good fun day and the lady members of the club put on tea, cakes and sandwiches, for all to enjoy. Delia Marsh held a Bingo session and Quiz’s in the bar area while the birds were being judged, and these were very popular and add fun to a brilliant day. My then seven-year-old granddaughter, Sasha, came with us to the show that year and she enjoyed helping Delia with the Bingo and Quiz. Sasha caught a club member on his mobile ringing his wife for Quiz answers and she reported him to Delia. We had a great laugh over that! Sasha was white pigeon mad and fell in love with Gordon and Delia’s White Logans which were entered in the show. The raffle on the day was massive with prizes donated by most who attended the show, but a special ‘thanks’ went out to ‘Pets Pantry’ of Cranleigh who donated a mountain of pigeon items, including six bags of corn for prizes. A small draft of 2008 gift youngsters were auctioned and helped to push the donation to the C.H.A.S.E. Charity up to a wonderful £1,500 that year. A wonderful effort by the Horsham Pigeon Club!
The 2008 trophy winners were: Darran & Des McFadden: ‘The Charity Cup’ for Best in Show, ‘The Clare Cup’ for Best Opposite Sex, ‘The 400 Mile Cup’ and ‘Best Points Trophy’ won with 90 points. Doug Gatland won ‘The Fred Mott Memorial Cup’ for Best Young Bird in Show.
Darran and Des McFadden’s birds were really on form and took most of the major honours on the day including BIS and BOS. I judged the Old Cocks class and my winner, a handsome three-year-old red pied, named ‘Chloe’s Boy’, won Best in Show and Darran told me he has won many cards racing including twice 1st club. His mother won Best Opposite Sex on the day and she is the McFadden’s outstanding Marcellis / Meuleman strawberry hen, ‘Chloe’s Girl’, and she won the Old Hens class judged by my brother, Phil. I think I’m right in saying, if my memory serves me correctly; he gave this same hen the red card at the C.H.A.S.E., when we judged a few seasons earlier! She had won many firsts in the show pen, five firsts racing and was then breeding winner in the stock loft, including the McFadden’s 2006 SMT Combine winner, ‘Sparrow’.
The Horsham Club was formed in 1947, with founder members including Dave Francis, Jim Sweet-Escott and Henry Light, grandfather of the club’s then secretary, Adam Light. In the early days the club basketed their birds at the goods inwards bay at Horsham Station as they went to the race points by train and the clocks were set at a near by pub called ‘The Bedford’. When pigeon road transport came in the club moved its H.Q. to a pub. At that time the club had been at the YMCA Football Club for approx. 30 years and enjoys the first-class facilities there, including a nice bar and hall to hold their prize presentation and pigeon shows. I’m told that member have up some good performances through the years, including several times 1st open London & South East Classic Club, 1st Section, 1st open NFC, 1st Kent & Sussex Palamos BBC and many premier positions, including firsts in the Federation and Combine.
The Charity Show had two new trophies donated in 2009, the first being ‘The Scottish Cup’ which was to be won by the Eyesign class winner each year. The other was ‘The Ralph Forman Memorial Cup’, which was donated by the Foreman family after Ralph’s passing at the age of 90 in 2008. Ralph was the Horsham pigeon club’s oldest member, being born and bred in the Sussex area, and had a lifetime in pigeon racing. Ralph was a great worker, attending the club regularly on marking nights and was respected and loved by all the club members. He would have been very proud that his son Peter, with his wife Cath won 1st open L&SECC Guernsey (2) in the 2008 season. Ralph’s two granddaughters presented his memorial trophy to the first winner, Darren McFadden, at that 2009 show.
The 2009 show saw 224 birds entered in the ten classes and trophy winners were: Darran & Des McFadden: ‘The Charity Cup’ for Best in Show, ‘The Clare Cup’ for Best Opposite Sex, ‘The Fred Mott Memorial Cup’ for Best Young Bird in Show, ‘Best Points Trophy’ won with 90 points and ‘The Ralph Foreman Cup’. Alasdair Muir won ‘The 400 Mile Cup’ and John Tyerman lifted the ‘The Scottish Eye Sign Cup’. The four Show Racer classes were judged by me and the winners were: B.I.S. Mike & Theresa Horner - B.O.S. Colin Reynolds.
Darran and Des McFadden’s birds were really on form again after their great success at the 2008 show and took most of the major honours on the day including BIS, BOS and BYB in the racing pigeon classes. Fred Hall judged the Old Cocks class and his winner was the handsome four-year-old red pied, ‘Chloe’s Boy’ and he won Best in Show. This was an outstanding performance as this same cock had previously won BIS at the 2008 CHASE Show, when I judged the old cocks class. The McFadden’s raced their pigeons to the garden of their shop in Cranleigh and had enjoyed a brilliant 2008 season winning 1st open SMT Combine (twice) and 1st open L&SECC Tarbes.
Two very happy fanciers after the 2008 L&SECC Tarbes classic were Darran and Des McFadden of Godalming who won 1st open with their champion blue chequer pied hen, ‘Razor’s Girl’. The 2008 season had been a dream come true for the Surrey partnership, previously winning twice 1st open SMT Combine from Fougeres and Messac and then the L&SECC Blue Riband event from Tarbes. Darran told me the 2008 campaign started off a bit shaky, with Sparrowhawks attacking his pigeons every day around the loft and his wife, Jo, having to have spinal surgery, and restricting his time spent with the birds down to a bare minimum. He said it was a very worrying time with Jo’s problems and he had to train his Tarbes pigeons off the south coast at 04.00hrs to fit it in. I’m happy to report that Jo is recovered very nicely and Darran has had the old bird racing season of a lifetime!
Mike and Theresa Horner of Alton won BIS in the Show Racer classes at the CHASE Show with their champion red hen, ‘Cilla’, who has previously won BIS at the 2007 RPRA Southern Region Show and then BOS at the 2008 RPRA show. Mike told me she had won about fifteen firsts in the show pen at that time and both her parents were two very successful breeding reds and were obtained from Colin Carter in 2003. The day after the 2007 Southern Region Show, Mike showed at the Southern Counties SR Society show held at Gravesend and ‘Cilla’ won Best Opposite Sex, being beaten by her half-brother, who won Best in Show. What a fantastic hen!
The traditional month for holding the annual C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show and Auction was January, but at the beginning of 2010 the show venue at the Horsham YMCA Football Ground was under a foot of snow and no one could get within a hundred yard of the building on show day. This very popular event was postponed and rescheduled for the end of November to beat the weather. In the week leading up to the show the weatherman was threatening heavy snow fall all over the UK that weekend and everyone was dreading another postponement. The day of the event arrived, but the snow didn’t, and everyone enjoyed a brilliant show. The following Tuesday the heavens opened up and under a thick carpet of snow, the whole of the UK was at a standstill for nearly a week. A lucky escape for our favourite show!
On show day the pens and hall were packed. Entry looked like one of the biggest for some years and judges were Phil Mott, Fred Hall, Peter Coles, John Puddephatt, Roy Underdown and I judged the four Show Racer classes. A vote of thanks was given to the London & South East Classic Club who sponsored the C.H.A.S.E. show for the class prize money again that year. Best in Show was won for the fourth year on the trot by Des and Darran McFadden of Cranleigh and once again it was with their good Red Pied Meuleman / Marcellis Cock ‘Chloe’s Boy’. He was the nest mate to the McFadden’s 2006 SMT Combine winner ‘Sparrow’ and had won three firsts on the road as well as many seconds and thirds. This wonderful cock was the sire of many prize winners and at that time had bred three first prize winners including ‘Messac Express’, a winner from Messac in 2008. He had won ten firsts showing and his C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show wins were: 2006: 1st Young Cock / Best Opposite Sex: 2007: 1st Old Cock: 2008: 1st Old Cock / Best in Show: 2009: 1st Old Cock / Best in Show: 2010: 1st Old C and Best in Show. His mother was Darran’s good 2001 bred red hen ‘Chloe's Girl’ and she herself had won eight firsts in the show pen.
Best Show Racer at the 2010 CHASE Show was won by a handsome blue chequer cock owned by the premier partnership of David and Jean Mackintosh. This cock had won several firsts in top Society shows and won an NPA certificate for best cock in the London & Essex Fancy Breeds Society. The partners kept a team of about 60 Show Racers, which were housed in several back-garden lofts and paired up at the end of January. David told me they had been showing since 2006 and had their own family based on Show Racers obtained from Peter Brookshire, B. Wilson and Lisa Smith, all fanciers from the North of England. He liked silver blues and creams and had had five shows up to the C.H.A.S.E. event and won five times Best in Show. They were members of the South East Counties Show Racer Society and have won Supreme Champion two years on the trot. David and Jean started up in the sport with racing pigeons in 1970 and were long distance enthusiasts, racing on the North Road. They raced the Cattrysse pigeons on the widowhood system and won Thurso (550 miles) four times in five seasons, being second the year they missed out. David told me the Cattrysse family were winners from 105 through to 550 miles.
This year’s show saw 260 birds entered in the ten classes and the trophy winners were: Darran & Des McFadden: ‘The Charity Cup’ for Best in Show, Wally Cable: ‘The Clare Cup’ for Best Opposite Sex, ‘The Fred Mott Memorial Cup’ for Best Young Bird in Show, R. Spencer won ‘The 400 Mile Cup’ and Darran McFadden lifted the ‘The Scottish Eye Sign Cup’. The four Show Racer classes were judged by me and the winners were: B.I.S. David & Jean Mackintosh - B.O.S. Mike & Theresa Horner. A small draft of fifteen gift birds were auctioned and helped to push the donation to the C.H.A.S.E. Charity up to a wonderful £2,261 that year. This time they had the best sale ever, with some unbelievable pigeons being donated! Top of the list must be Derick Packer and Brian Clarke’s donation. They donated their 2009 1st open L&SECC Alencon winner, ‘Michaela’, which was a fantastic and generous gesture on their part! The bidding for this hen at the C.H.A.S.E. auction was brisk and raised a fantastic £560, being purchased by the Clive Turner, Alistair Muir syndicate. Every year we all look forward to the C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show and Auction, and in 2010 we enjoyed one of the best ever, with over 260 birds being entered! The show again was put on by the Horsham Pigeon Club, under the leadership of Show Secretaries, Clive Turner, Gordon and Delia Marsh.
The 2011 annual C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show was held at the Horsham YMCA Football ground in late November and on show day the pens and hall were packed. The judges were David Bridger, Phil Mott, Terry Haley, Brian Goodwin, Roy Underdown and I normally judged, but stood down this year in favour of showing a few birds. A small draft of eighteen gift birds were auctioned and helped to push the donation to the C.H.A.S.E. Charity up to a wonderful £2,200 that year. It was another well done to the Horsham Pigeon Club, on another brilliant effort! It was also a special thanks to Adam Light and Steve Vizor, who worked flat out all day and thanks to the British Homing World for their kindness and generosity with their advert, which was free of charge.
Best in Show was won for the fifth year on the trot by Des and Darran McFadden of Cranleigh and once again it was with their good Red Pied Meuleman / Marcellis Cock ‘Chloe’s Boy’. He had now won eight firsts showing and his C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show wins were: 2006: 1st Young Cock / Best Opposite Sex: 2007: 1st Old Cock: 2008: 1st Old Cock / Best in Show: 2009: 1st Old Cock / Best in Show: 2010: 1st Old Cock / Best in Show: 2011: 1st Old Cock and Best in Show. A wonderful performance! His mother was Darran’s good 2001 bred red hen ‘Chloe's Girl’ and she herself had won eight firsts in the show pen. At that year’s C.H.A.S.E. Show she was 3rd in the old hen’s class, at 10-year-old, Darran told me, ‘she has never failed to be carded in a show in her life. This gem of a hen won four firsts on the road and quite a few good classic and national positions before I put her in the stock shed at three years old’. She had gone on to breed him multiple first prize winners in the McFadden widowhood team including Darran’s 2006 SMT Combine winner and was grand dam of his 2008 Messac SMT combine winner ‘Gladiator’. Her best C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show wins were: 2004: 1st Old Hens / Best in Show: 2008: 1st Old Hens / Best Opposite Sex, when her red pied son, ‘Chloe’s Boy’ won Best in Show four times. Des and Darran had a very special day at C.H.A.S.E. that year winning four of the six classes, BIS and BOS, and six of the seven open show trophies, including ‘The Charity Cup’, ‘The Clare Cup’, ‘The 400 Mile Cup’, ‘The Crammond Cup’, ‘The Ralf Forman Cup’ and ‘The Tony Millis Cup’.
My team of eleven 2011 young birds were strong that year and I decided to show them that winter, with some good success. The competition at the Esher Friday night open shows is ‘red hot’ with big birdage and good prize money. While I was away in Newcastle judging the NEHU Show my wife, Betty, and Peter Taylor took my six young hens to the Esher for the handled show and won 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th. The following weekend was the big one for me as I had entered five young hens and four young cocks in the C.H.A.S.E. Show hoping to win my dad’s trophy, ‘The Fred Mott Memorial Cup’ for the second time. On the Friday night I entered my sole five young cocks in the Esher YC handled class and won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and BIS. I took my little team to the C.H.A.S.E. Show on the Sunday morning to win 1st and 2nd young cocks (38 birds) and Best Young Bird in Show, lifting the ‘The Fred Mott Memorial Cup’. It was a great thrill to win the ol’ man’s cup again and finished off a very special weekend of showing for me! The Best Young Bird was my Brian Denney blue chequer pied cock, ‘Foxwarren Saga’ who also recorded 3rd at Esher on the Friday night and he was bred from two grandchildren of Champion ‘Tuff Nut’.
Best in Show at the 2012 C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show was won by David and Lesley Bridger of East Preston and they were one the premier lofts on the south coast, winning many top prizes including 1st open L&SECC Tarbes (524 miles) in 2011. Their C.H.A.S.E. winning pigeon was a handsome blue chequer cock and he had to win a very strong old cocks class to take Best in Show. The entry looked like one of the biggest for some years and judges were Keith Mott, Terry Haley, Brian Doick, Peter Coles and Roy Underdown. The 2013 C.H.A.S.E. Charity Show raised a wonderful £1,400.
This 2012 show saw over 195 birds entered in the six classes and the winner of Best in Show was David and Lesley Bridger winning the ‘Charity Cup’, B.O.S was Doug Gatland winning the ‘Clare Cup’, and the ‘Fred Mott Memorial Cup’ for the best young bird, plus ‘The Ralf Foreman Cup’ for the best hen. Winner of the ‘400 Mile Cup’ taking the first three position in the class was A. Muir. Winner of the points cup for the seventh-year running was D &D McFadden and, in the Show, Racer classes, Colin Reynolds won B.I.S & B.O.S, lifting the ‘Iris Mott Memorial Cup’ and the ‘Millis Cup’.
Two weeks after the 2011 Tarbes Classic race, Peter Taylor and I made the 50-mile drive down to the south coast to visit Dave and Lesley and to see their champion pied hen, ‘Pipi’. We picked a beautiful July day for the visit and the Bridger’s wonderful garden was in full bloom. David told me Lesley was the gardener and I must say she certainly knows her job, the garden looked magnificent! On our arrival at Bridger’s home, we sat and had tea in their back conservatory, and I began by asking David if he had enjoyed his Tarbes success and he replied, ‘Being asked to have a report on my loft following my win from the London & South East Classic Club Tarbes is by far the biggest honour that I have had in nearly 50 years of racing. I have in the past had the only bird on the day in the club from Thurso 551 miles, timed from both Thurso and NFC Pau on the same day and have been 1st Club, 1st Federation, 1st Combine Thurso and 1st Club, 2nd Federation, 2nd Combine from Thurso, but nothing tops the feeling I had when timing my London Classic Club bird on the day from Tarbes flying 524 Miles 587 Yards at 9.33pm. I have never lost any sleep over winning the Club, Federation or Combine but I certainly did the night of our Tarbes Classic win’. His Classic winner was his beautiful three-year-old pencil blue pied hen ‘Pipi’ and she flew the 524-mile race, being the only bird clocked on the day in the L&SECC and was sent sitting 12-day old eggs. She was paired to one of David’s premier racing cocks, ‘The Star’, winner of several premier positions including 1st Federation Messac and 6th Federation Yelverton.
The Southern Counties Show Racer Societies hard working secretary, Colin Reynolds, won Best Show Racer at the 2012 C.H.A.S.E. Show with a beautiful young bird mealy hen, which was bred down from a long line of premier winners. Colin told me he has a good winning family of blues, which believe it or not, originally started from a pair of blue chequers! He had been Show Secretary for the last eight seasons and said he liked the standard colours of blue chequer, blue, red chequer and mealy best, although he had several Mosaics in the loft. Colin kept 20 pairs of Show Racers in his four section ‘L’ Shaped loft and paired them up after the BHW Blackpool Show in January. The birds were fed on a high protein mixture, which included Beans and Maple Peas. He had been keeping Show Racers since 2004, when the SCSRS was formed and said the then Societies chairman, Jim Trim, was a big help in getting him going. The Reynolds loft had won Best in Show many times through the years, including BIS at the SCSRC Open Show and the Thame Show in 2010. Colin started in the sport as a ten-year-old lad, when he got his stock birds by catching ‘roadies’ in old farm buildings near his home in Morpeth, in the North East of England. He had then been in the sport 59 years and obtained his first racing pigeons in the 1950’s from Clarke Brothers who had won the Combine in long distance races. Colin moved to Gillingham in Kent, in 1971 and enjoyed racing long distance, with the Les Stevens / Fabry pigeons for many years. He raced very successfully with 16 natural pairs but went completely over to Show Racer in 2004.
Gordon & Delia Marsh of East Southwater won Best In Show at the 2013 CH.A.S.E. Charity Show and it was great to see them in the top spot, as they had put a lot of hard work in to the show over the year, and were two of the main people in getting it going. Theirs was one of the premier lofts on the south coast, winning many top prizes including 3rd open L&SECC Tarbes (524 miles) in 2013. Their Best in Show winning pigeon was a handsome blue pied Cattrysse cock and he had to win a very strong 400 miles class to take BIS. Gordon bought the original Cattrysse stock birds from Ernie Goodyear about four years previous and he told me his BIS winner flew Bergerac (450 miles) in both the last two seasons. Gordon and Delia started the CHASE Charity Show, with a lot of help from the Horsham pigeon club members, about 14 years previous and had raised in excess of £25,000 for the charity in that time. In 2013 Delia was very heavy into ‘running’ her dogs and the show was then run by Clive Turner and Gordon.
Gordon and Delia Marsh had enjoyed a wonderful 2013 racing season in the very strong Horsham club, winning a hat full of prize cards in the club and Federation, including seven firsts, plus 1st section, 3rd open L&SECC Bergerac. Gordon liked all pigeon races and enjoyed winning at any distance, but in recent years had only really raced from over the Channel. He told me, one of his best pigeons ever was a dark chequer cock, bred down from the old Marsh pigeons in the 1970s and he flew Thurso seven times (twice on the day), winning on three occasions, also winning 2nd and 3rd on two other occasions. The first of his two London & South East Classic Club winner was also from the old Marsh stock and she was a yearling chequer pied hen sent feeding her first ever youngster. Over the years you own many good pigeons, but some you never forget. Gordon says, he has had many thrilling experiences with his birds, but one of the best must be seeing his pigeon on the loft at just after six, on the day of liberation from Thurso and half an hour later seeing his hen arrive, to take 1st and 2nd club, only two birds on the day. Winning 1st open London & South East Classic Club twice ranks highly in his most thrilling experiences category.
Gordon Marsh was born in South Wales, but only lived there for a year and has now spent most of his life, living in West Sussex. He from a racing pigeon family, his grandfather had pigeons, as did his father and both his brothers. Gordon says, he was born into pigeons and as far back as he can remember, he was always in the pigeon loft with his dad. The loft was up on 6ft. poles, with double door trapping and it had a cabin, with easy chairs and paraffin stove to make tea on. He spent hour up in his dads loft and it was in 1965 that Gordon got his own place and started up his own loft of pigeons. His first stock came from his father’s loft in the form of a complete round of youngsters and he recalls that Jed Jackson gave him a really nice pied hen, which was surplus to his requirements. Gordon's first major success was with a young blue cock, which recorded 2nd club, 3rd Federation and was well up in the S.M.T. Combine result from Avranches. Gordon's first pigeons were mainly Logan's, Barkers and Kirkpatrick crosses, as raced by his father and his father before him, and they won at all distances. He joined one of the best clubs on the south coast, the Worthing & Dist. H.S. and his loft was set up for the natural system, with just two sections. He wintered ten pairs of old birds and bred only 12 youngsters, which had to race the programme. Gordon maintains, he was a well-trained pigeon fancier long before he was ever let loose on his own but has made many mistakes since and hopefully learnt from them. His two biggest mistakes were undoubtedly, in the 1970s, making winning his one aim, forgetting that he loved to be around pigeons and being impatient.
This 2013 show saw over 207 birds entered in the six classes and the winner of Best in Show was Gordon & Delia Marsh winning the ‘Charity Cup’, B.O.S was Doug Gatland winning the ‘Clare Cup’ and ‘The Ralf Foreman Cup’ for the best hen. Show secretary, Clive Turner, won the ‘Fred Mott Memorial Cup’ for the best young bird and winner of the ‘400 Mile Cup’ was Gordon & Delia Marsh. In the Show Racer classes, Mike Horner won B.I.S, lifting the ‘Iris Mott Memorial Cup’ and Colin Reynolds recorded BOS, winning the ‘Millis Cup’. The judges on the day were Keith Mott, Terry Haley, Peter Obertelli, Peter Coles and Roy Underdown, and the small draft of eighteen gift birds were auctioned and helped to push the donation to the C.H.A.S.E. Charity up to a wonderful £1,300 that year.
As always, I judged the Show Racers again that year and gave BIS Show Racers to a wonderful dark hen owned by Mike and Horner of Alton. I first met Mike Horner back November 2006, when he won Best in Show at the R.P.R.A. Southern Region Show and I was there at the High Wycombe event judging. To say he was overjoyed at his performance would be an understatement. This was his best performance ever with his Show Racers and he was over the moon! His team for the Southern Region Show were exceptionally good that year and in the light of that he fancied his chances. Mike and Theresa won Best in Show (645 birds) with their four-year-old Mosaic show racer cock, ‘Barny’, and he had plenty of previous good form, having won in the show pen twelve times. He won Class 7 (Coloured Cock or Hen) at High Wycombe and also lifted two trophies, ‘Best Show Racer’ and ‘Best in Show’. Mike has been in pigeons, in one form or the other, all his life and is from a racing pigeon family, with his father and grandfathers being pigeon racers. He started up with the Show Racer properly on marring Theresa in 1980, with birds from Tony Williams, which were reds and mealies, and later some stock from Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter of Churchdown.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)