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Brian & Caroline Seward of Brampton

“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.

 

‘Show Racer World’ Number 3.

 

Brian & Caroline Seward of Brampton.

 

The month of November 2015 saw Terry Haley and myself make the 240 mile drive down to Bodmin in Cornwall to judge the South West Show Racer Societies annual Duchy Open Show. The Duchy Show is open to any fanciers in the UK and John Robilliard tells me they come from as far away as Wales, Gloucestershire and the Midlands to compete. The show’s 37 classes are for Show Racers and Racing Pigeons, and the 2015 event attracted a 604 bird entry. Although Terry and I were a long way from home, it was good to see all the old familiar faces we see every year around the Show Racer scene. We awarded Best in Show (Show Racer), Best Young Bird (Show Racer) and Supreme Champion to beautiful 2015 red chequer cock, owned by Brian & Caroline Seward of Brampton and that wonderful pigeon was bred down from gift stock birds from Alistair Tankard. The Seward loft also won Best Adult Cock. Brian and Caroline had previously won Supreme Champion at the Duchy Show in 2013 with their good mosaic hen named, ‘Abigail’.

Originally the Duchy Show was put on for many years by the Duchy Racing Pigeon Club and when it disbanded about seven years ago the South West Show Racer Society took it over, and this year’s event is their seventh open show. The SWSRS has 35 members with their lofts in mostly Devon and Cornwall, with a couple of members living in South Wales. The Society holds five shows each season, three club events and two open shows, one in November and the other in December. The competition in the Society is very keen and the members do very well at all the National and Classic shows throughout the UK. The Societies chairman, John Robilliard, told me, a few years ago the club out grew their old HQ at a local hospital site and managed to secure the Luxulyan Village Hall, which is a brilliant venue to stage big pigeon shows, with a nice well-lit hall and good catering and parking facilities. The hard working secretary is, Liz Watts, who has her loft in Camborne and the President is Ken Hearn.

 

Talking to Brian Seward the day after the show, he told me, he had not slept to well with the excitement of his second big win at Luxulyan and he and his wife, Caroline were highly delighted with their continuing success at the ‘Duchy’ Show. This was their wonderful red cocks first time in the show pen, to win Supreme Champion and was bred from the best of Alistair Tankard’s loft in Scotland. Their 2013 Supreme Champion, ‘Abigail’, is named after their eldest granddaughter and she won as young bird at the ‘Duchy’ and won her class at the 2012 BSRF Southern Show. A wonderful line of winning Show Racers!

 

Brian was a pigeon fancier at a very young age, with his father, Arnold, being a very successful racer before and after the Second World War. The late Arnold Seward flew both North and South roads with outstanding success in club and Federation, but his main success was gaining premier positions in the National Flying Club, and from Palamos. Arnold got his interest in pigeon racing from his uncle, Arnold Record, who flew in the Record & Talman partnership of Exeter before the war. In the 1970’s Brian’s pigeon racing conflicted with his work in the family business and their two young sons’ activity of horse riding. The late great Show Racer fancier, Mike Hale of Cornwall, suggested that some show birds might be more compatible with Brian busy life style at that time and Brian decided to changed codes, and Mike supplied him with his first pair of Show Racers. Brian’s father, Arnold, also changed over to show birds and they enjoyed showing and judging at all the major shows together. Arnold passed away in 1993 and Brian found it very hard to travel around the country show on his own, so packed the pigeon up. Doug McClary kept in touch with Brian through his none pigeon years and gave him regular judging appointments. Brian was invited to judge at the 2005 BHW Blackpool Show, where he received a wonderful welcome back by his Show Racer friends and he soon had a new loft erected in the garden. The smart new 18ft x 8ft structure was soon followed by a basket full top quality Show Racers, gifted from Jill and David Fisher, and Jill’s father, Mervyn Patt. Within two years these stock birds produced both adult and young bird champions in the Devon & Cornwall SRS. Brian and Caroline retired from work in 2008, which gave them more time to be involved with the pigeons and they became joint secretaries of the Devon & Cornwall SRS.

 

Brian and Caroline’s cottage was originally a stable before the war, when Brian’s grandfather’s business delivered bred by pony and trap across Exmoor. It is Exmoor which still plays a large part in their retirement, as they help as volunteers on the Exmoor National Park. They have licences to monitor Dormice and Otters, and to lead walks over the moor. Exmoor National Park have big adventure days, when the theme is about the war and Brian has a stand with information leaflets about the ‘Pigeons In War’, which he backs up by taking a basket of birds to display, which proves very popular. One school in Minehead has had visits from the Exmoor National Park, when Brian and Caroline take the children out on nature walks. Recently Brian attended with a ranger to discuss ‘Pigeons In War’ at the school assembly and he took some pigeons as a surprise, which really went down well. He borrowed a pair of racing birds from local fancier, George Hensley, so messages could be attacked to the birds and then they were released. The children whooped with encouragement as the birds soared into the sky and yelled the direction of home as they circled over the school getting their bearings. The birds quickly returned to their loft and George read the messages, which thanked him for the loan of his birds.

 

Harry & Tony Baugh of Hodnet.

 

Thousands of fanciers made the drive up to Blackpool in mid-January 2018 for the main event of the Show Racer calendar, the 46th British Homing World ‘Show of the Year’. Everyone anticipates and looks forward to this wonderful weekend in Blackpool, not only for their annual fill of ‘pigeon fun’, but mostly to meet up with good pigeon friends. The 2018 event attacked a show entry of 2,000 birds and M. Koch had the job of judging the specials this time, including Best in Show. Best in Show over all at Blackpool was won by a four year old Show Racer red chequer cock owned by Harry & Tony Baugh of Hodnet in Shropshire and when I spoke to Tony after the event he said, that his late father, Harry, would have been thrilled to win Best in Show at Blackpool for the second time. Tony tells me the cock was bred by Alistair Tankard and is now named ‘Koster King’. This beautiful pigeon had only had two shows that season, winning first at the Midlands Show Racer Society show, which qualified him for Blackpool, where he has recorded the Baugh loft’s second ‘Best in Show’ win.

 

Tony Baugh and his late father, Harry, started racing pigeons in the 1950’s and were very successful at club and Federation level, winner several firsts every season. They switched codes to Show Racers in 1960 and their first big performance was winning a trophy at the premier ‘Peoples Show’ in 1963. Harry passed away in 1992 and Tony still competes under the same partnership name of H. Baugh & Son. They have been a major force to compete with at National shows over the year, with the highlights being: 1975: BIS RP Old Comrades Show, 1984: BIS BHW Blackpool Show, 1995 BIS RP Old Comrades Show, 2016: BOS BHW Blackpool Show and 2018 BIS BHW Blackpool Show. Tony judges a lot and has judged at the Blackpool Show four times over the years, and he told me, he thinks he is the only founder member of the Midlands Show Racer Society left in the club. He only keeps a small team of Show Racers in his 22ft x 8ft loft, which has three sections and an aviary. Tony feeds a 50/50 mixture of ‘Young Bird’ and ‘Channel’ mixtures and uses ‘Loft White’ on the loft floors after cleaning out on a daily basis. He has no secrets behind his success and the birds have no special management build up before the big shows, he just looks after the birds well for 52 weeks of the year. No stock birds are kept, with all the breeding being done from his 12 pairs of Show Racers and his favourite colours are powder blue and blue chequer.

 

I can be contacted with any pigeon ‘banter’ on telephone number: 01372 463480 or email me on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com).