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Colin & Jean Carter of Churchdown

“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.

 

‘Show Racer World’ Number 2.

 

Colin & Jean Carter of Churchdown.

 

The 2015 BHW Blackpool ‘Show of the Year’ was its normal outstanding success! When I heard it was great news that my ol’ friends, Colin and Jean Carter of Churchdown had won Best in Show and Best Inter Society classes. I spoke to Colin on the Monday morning and he was delight to finish off a brilliant 2014 / 5 show season with a Best in Show at Blackpool.

Colin & Jean Carter won Best in Show for the third time at the 2015 BHW Blackpool ‘Show of the Year’, with his champion silver hen, ‘Cotswold Silver Star’. This hen was bred from Steve Wheatley and Ron McCarthy stock birds and the Blackpool show was her first time in the show pen! Colin and Jean have had very successful 2014 / 15 show season and another principal pigeon was their mosaic hen, ‘Cotswold Southern Belle’, and she won this time: 1st Blackpool show and Best Inter Society (350 birds), BIS RPRA Southern Region Show (729 birds), BOS Stithians Show, 1st South West Open Show and 2nd ‘Duchy’ Open Show. What a great season! Colin told me at that time, ‘this hen, ‘Cotswold Southern Belle’, is bred from our well known and successful mosaic family, which we have established over the last seven years from a pair of mosaic pigeons from John Robilliard, and a number of mosaic pigeons loaned from Ron McCarthy. By winning Best in Show at the RPRA Southern Region Show this winter, ‘Southern Belle’, she qualified for the ‘Supreme Champion’ class at the 2015 BHW Blackpool Show, but we decided to enter her in the normal show, and she won 1st Class 10 and Best Inter Society Classes 9 to 14 (350 birds). By making this decision we helped secure ‘Most Points’ and £100 for the Devon & Cornwall Show Racer Society.’

   

 

Jean Carter passed away on the weekend of 16th May 2015, after several months of ill health. I had several phone conversations Colin and I was aware that she had not been well since the Blackpool Show in January, but I didn’t realise how ill she was. What a nice lady Jean was! We used to meet up with her every winter at the big shows, when she would be walking around the pens looking at the birds with Colin. Colin and Jean, were fanciers who enjoy their pigeons, top or bottom of the result sheet, they always enjoy themselves! Colin’s wife, Jean, was his pigeon partner and was very active in the sport, playing a big part in the management of the birds and attends all the big shows with him. The Colin and Jean Carter pigeon partnership was one of the all-time greats on the UK Show Racer scene!

 

When walking around the National shows in the winter months, we quite often bump into Colin Carter and being one of the premier Show Racer fanciers in the U.K., more often than not he had pigeons on the winners table, which is great achievement as his is a small team loft, with quality and not quantity being the criteria for their pigeon regime. Colin was born in Portchester, Hampshire in 1938 and no member of his family kept pigeons only shot them for food, along with wild rabbits, and chickens for their eggs. He became a pigeon fancier at the age of 15, when he caught a couple of strays at the local abattoir, where he worked as a slaughter man. In a short time he met up with two local fanciers, George Brister and Bill Harris senior, who set him up and got him going in the sport. His first club was the Fareham & Dist. F.C., flying both south and north road and he won his first race on the north road. At the age of 18, the young Colin had to go off and do his National Service and formed the H.T. Carter pigeon partnership with his father, Harold. The Carters were founder members of the Portchester Flying Club. Colin is a very keen fisherman and spent a lot of time out on his cousin’s boat in Portsmouth harbour. Fanciers he admired and gave him advice in the early days were Norman Southwell, Russ Dowden and Colin’s idol, Vic Robinson. Colin says he can remember Vic giving his opinion on eyesign, saying, ‘it’s eye site they need not eyesign’.

 

Colin’s first show birds came from Cyril Lowe of Guernsey in 1965 and at that time Bill Harris was a stoker on the boats that went on regular trips to Guernsey from Portsmouth. Bill would bring show birds over from Cyril to go to the big London shows. When Colin saw these Show Racers he was hooked and when Cyril Lowe found out he gifted Colin with several pairs. At that time Colin married his wife, Jean, and started a family. In 1970 work took the Carter family to Gloucestershire, where they set up home in Churchdown and because of lack of time all the pigeons had to be sold off. Colin restarted up in the sport in 1991 with a few race birds and joined the Newent & Dist. F.C. On visiting the Old Comrades Show at the N.E.C. Birmingham that winter, Colin bumped in to Doug McClary, who he hadn’t seen for over 20 years. One thing led to another and he soon had some of the McClary Show Racers in his back garden, replacing the racing pigeons. He joined the Monmouth Show Racer Society and more show birds were introduced, mainly from Ron McCarthy, Tony Williams and the Wheatley family in the north east of England.

 

Some of Colin and Jean Carter’s main achievements in recent years have been: 1995: B.I.S. Louella Fancier of the Year, Reserve Champion British S.R. Federation Show: 1996: 1st. Pairs class B.H.W. Blackpool Show (Colin’s first attempt), B.I.S. East of England Spectacular: 1997: B.I.S and B.Y.B. at the B.H.W. Blackpool Show, Best Yearling at the Old Comrades Show: 1998: Club champion of the Devon & Cornwall S.R. Society, B.O.S. and Best yearling at the Old Comrades Show: 1999: B.I.S. and B.O.S. R.P.R.A. Southern Region Show, B.I.S. and B.O.S., Best yearling at the Old Comrades Show, Club champion of the Devon & Cornwall S.R. Society, B.I.S. Pensilva Show: 2000: B.Y.B. at the Old Comrades Show, B.I.S. Pensilva Show: 2002: B.Y.B. at the Old Comrades Show, Best Show Racer National Young Bird, B.O.S. to club champion and Champion Young Bird Devon & Cornwall S.R. Society: 2003: B.I.S. and B.Y.B. at the B.H.W. Blackpool show: 2004:  B.Y.B. Plymouth Open Show, Best Show Racer R.P.R.A. Southern Region Show: 2005: B.Y.B. Royal Welsh Show, B.O.S.Y.B. South West Open Show, B.I.S. Devon & Cornwall S.R. Society Young Bird Show, B.Y.B. and Reserve Champion Young Bird in the final club show.

 

Some of the premier pigeons in the Gloucestershire loft are: Champion ‘Cotswold Queen’, Best in Show B.H.W. Blackpool Show 2003, 1st. National Young Bird Show, B.Y.B. and Reserve Champion Devon & Cornwall S.R. Society Show, 1st. R.P.R.A. Southern Region Show: Champion ‘Cotswold Gem’, Best in Show B.H.W. Blackpool Show 1997, Best Yearling Old Comrades Show: Champion ‘Cotswold Star’, Best in Show Old Comrades Show 1999, 1st. Thame Show, B.I.S. West Country Medley: ‘Young Ron’, Winner of the fancier of the year at Louella Show, beating all breeds in 1995. B.O.S. Thame Show, 1st. B.H.W. Blackpool Show: ‘Cotswold Lad’, B.Y.B. Old Comrades Show, B.Y.C. Royal Welsh Show, 1st. R.P.R.A. Southern Region Show: ‘Cotswold Girl’, Best in Show East of England Show 1996. Colin has owned many champions pigeons in his time and when I asked him which was his best bird, he had a good think and finally answered, ‘my good hen ‘Cotswold Jeanie’. She was my most consistent pigeon, being shown 44 times and taking 37 cards, including twice Best in Show and six times Best Opposites Sex in Classic and National shows. She was best hen at the Edinburgh International Show and was a fantastic breeder, producing many premier show birds, including ‘Colin’s Cracker’ winner of BIS BHW Blackpool Show in 2009 for Ron McCarthy of Wales’.

 

Colin told me he likes to keep his family as close bred as he can and that way, he can produce the type of bird that suits his management system, produce the type he likes. The loft has 18 nest boxes and at the final show, Blackpool, the loft is normally housing 12 pairs. The birds are paired up at the end of January and he breeds a maximum of 30 youngsters for the show pen. No stock birds are kept; all the old birds have to go to the show arena and competes in about 16 shows each season. Colin maintains that if a pigeon is six years of age or older in his loft, it is something very special and likes to breed off young pigeons, and not from old stagers. All young birds are pen trained, but are naturally quite tame and any showing wild tendencies are disposed of, as it upsets the rest of the loft. The show loft has four compartments, two for cocks and two for hens, with the birds being separated at the end of July. The young and old birds are run together and get a bath once a week. The perches are scrapped every morning, the floor three times a week and no deep litter system is used in the loft. The water fountains are topped up every day and the birds are fed on farm peas and beans, with a young bird mixture added in the summer months. T.W.P. is given before the shows.  When judging, Colin likes a bird that is well balanced, silky feathering, handsome looks and good colour. He doesn’t mind what colour, but the bird must be good in colour, not ‘wishy washy’, or one of those pretty ones you sometimes see, and of course handle fit, and not short in the keel.

 

Colin Carter one of our all-time greats of the show pen! This article is the second of several that I’ve penned to celebrate the new 2018 Show Racer season. I hope my readers enjoy them. I can be contacted with any pigeon news of ‘banter’ on telephone number: 01372 463480 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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