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Eric & Pat Cannon of Wormley (nfc Pau Merit Awards)

“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT.

 

Eric & Pat Cannon of Wormley (NFC Pau Merit Awards).

 

I remember I got a phone call from my friend, the late Pat Cannon, telling me that she had to have some structural work carried out on her house and had to clear out the spare bedroom. A lot of Eric’s old framed pigeon photos, some dating back to the 1950’s, were stored in the room as well as his four framed National Flying Club Pau Merit Awards. I have all Eric’s breeding books, small pigeon photos and NFC diplomas stored at my house since I did his dispersal sale, following his death in 2000. Being the keeper of Eric’s records, Pat, asked if I could take the photos and diplomas of merit, and keep them with his other pigeon stuff. Eric and I were great friends for many years and I’ve gone on record many times, stating he was the best pigeon racer that I’ve ever met, and was our greatest National champion. All his pigeon records are stored in a special plastic crate at my home and I think it’s so important that they are looked after, with his brilliant long distance performances being major pigeon racing history over the last 50 years. I think his record four framed NFC Pau Merit Awards should be in a museum, but that is some thing we are going to look in to in the future. What a fantastic record, four NFC Pau Merit Awards! All my mates are coming around to see them and the chances are they will never see four under one roof ever again! They should be on a museum wall so ever one can enjoy them.

 

At the 1999 National Flying Club prize presentation held at Bedford, Eric and Pat Cannon were presented with their fourth and last N.F.C. Pau Certificate of Merit, which is won by a pigeon that has taken three positions in the first 100 open in the Pau Grand National result. Their fourth certificate winner was the blue hen, Champion ‘Culmer Bess’, whose record reads, 1996: 4th section, 47th open NFC Pau / Saintes, 1997: 2nd section, 6th open NFC Pau, 1998: 170th open NFC Pau, 1999: 2nd section, 26th open NFC Pau, to lift the Certificate of Merit. A wonderful hen! ‘Culmer Bess’ was a daughter of one of Eric’s NFC Pau section winners, ‘Culmer Joan’, and a cock obtained from Michael Spencer of Clitheroe. The Cannon / Spencer cross proved to be an excellent one, with ‘Culmer Michael’, a brother to ‘Culmer Bess’, winning 1st in the very strong Godalming club from Nantes, 17th open NFC Pau, 184th open NFC Pau, 161st open NFC Pau / Saintes. The Cannon loft won it’s previous NFC Pau merit award with the champion blue hen, ‘Culmer Channel Queen’ and she recorded 364th open NFC Young Bird National, 9th section, 98th open NFC Pau, 3rd section, 29th open NFC Pau, 5th section, 23rd open NFC Pau, 14th section, 183rd open NFC Pau. Another fantastic pigeon! She was a direct daughter of the champion stock cock, ‘Culmer Producer’, sire of many good NFC Pau pigeons and son of ‘Culmer Pat’, when paired to a son of Tom Gilbertson’s ‘Treble Five’. The champion hen, ‘Culmer Pat’, won 27th, 80th and104th open NFC Pau for the late Gerald Stovin and was dam of his 1st open NFC Pau winner. ‘Culmer Pat’ was bred by Gerald Stovin from two Cannon pigeons and was gifted back to Eric before Gerald’s untimely death from cancer. The dam of ‘Culmer Channel Queen’ was ‘27444’ and she scored in three NFC Pau Nationals, recording 70th, 298th and 507th open, and her dam was ‘Culmer Joan’. A brilliant family of long distance pigeons!

 

I was working through some old photographs recently and came across a picture of Eric’s old champion, ‘Culmer Gold’. On viewing this handsome blue cock’s photograph, it made me reflect on his wonderful racing record and I wondered to myself how you measure to find the best when it comes to racing pigeons. Performance, I suppose! The great ‘Culmer Gold’, never won the Combine or National race, some might say, Ah, but he was super consistent in the fierce competition of our supreme English specialist organisation, the National Flying Club. My ol’ mate, Eric, had countless champions in his lifetime in pigeon racing, including 1st open National Flying Club, but ‘Culmer Gold’, was his favourite and I think probably his greatest champion of them all. This great old cock must have rate as one of the greatest long distance racers in the world when he was alive by recording 1st club, 2nd Surrey Federation, 9th open SMT Combine Niort (340 miles); 1st club, 3rd Surrey Federation, 11th open S.M.T. Combine Bergerac (440 miles); 21st, 70th, 83rd, 103rd, 111th open Pau NFC (540 miles) winning the NFC Pau Merit Award and in one season recorded 163rd open Nantes NFC to win the best average from Nantes and Pau in the NFC. A brilliant performance! Over the years many premier winners have been reported through the ‘Culmer Gold’ line, including 1st open NFC Saintes and 1st Amalgamation Bourges (580 miles). ‘Culmer Gold’ one of the best that I have had the privilege to handle!

 

Champion ‘Culmer Gold’ was sired by blue cock, ’40799’, one of Eric’s premier stock cocks in the 1980’s and a full brother to the champion blue cock, ‘Culmer Lad’, who flew NFC Pau ten times and was in the NFC result eight times, to record 22nd, 37th, 227th, 346th, 373rd, 467th, 614th and 761st open. ‘Culmer Lad’ also scored in two other NFC races, putting ten National positions to his name and he was also an outstanding breeding pigeon, being the sire of several premier NFC pigeons, including ‘Culmer Belle’, winner of 4th, 76th, 131st and 428th open NFC Pau. ‘Culmer Lad’ and ‘40799’ were both sons of the first of Eric’s four NFC Pau Merit Award winners, Champion ‘Culmer Lady’. This great hen won 26th, 27th, 48th, 135th, 140th open NFC Pau and was half sister to Eric’s brilliant hen, Champion ‘Culmer Blue Bird’. The grandsire of ‘Culmer Gold’ on his dam’s side was the blue chequer cock, ‘26792’, who is rated by some as Eric’s principal breeding pigeon. He was half-brother to Champion ‘Culmer Lass’, winner of 1st open SMT Combine Bergerac (only bird on the day in the Combine). The stock cock, ‘26792’, and ‘Culmer Lass’ were both sired by the blue cock, ‘13953’, the sire of three 1st sections and a 2nd section winners from the NFC Pau National. The dam of ‘26792’ was the famous blue chequer hen, ‘The Challen Hen’, who bred ten pigeons to appear in the Pau National results, including 2nd open. The nest mate of ‘26792’ was blue chequer hen, ‘26791’ and she won 2nd section NFC Pau, and was also the dam of the champion red cock, ‘Culmer Sam’, who I think was Eric Cannon’s key breeding pigeon from the early 1980’s. Champion ‘Culmer Gold’ was typical of Eric’s old blue family, being medium, long cast in the hand, with good, silky feather and a nice head. The old timer loved Eric, and was always up on his shoulder or hand looking for a bit of Maize. He won a great deal of money in National racing and bred a dynasty of outstanding long distance racing pigeons for the Cannon loft and others.

 

If the National Flying Club Pau Certificate of Merit had started a few years earlier, Eric would have won three other awards, with the three hens, ‘Culmer Julie Girl’, ‘Culmer Beauty’ and the great champion blue hen, ‘Culmer Blue Bird’. My wife, Betty, and I had been good friends with Eric and Pat for 30 years and out of all their many champions through the years, ‘Blue Bird’, was my favourite. She was perfect in the hand and in the late 1970’s she recorded 6th, 28th, 57th, 118th and 251st open NFC Pau, winning 1st section twice.

 

'Culmer Blue Bird' was a perfect long distance type of pigeon in the hand, with wonderful feathering and was a great champion racer and breeder. She was a double 1st section A winner from the NFC Pau Grand National and she also recorded 247th open NFC Nantes, and 98th open NFC Young Bird National. 'Blue Bird' bred many premier long distance pigeons and was the grand dam of Eric's top hen `Culmer Lass', winner of many premier positions including 1st open SMT Combine Bergerac (440 miles), only bird on the day of liberation in the Combine; 1st section A, 12th open NFC Pau (540 miles). ‘Culmer Lass’ was also a great breeder and was the grand dam of Champion ‘Marion’, winner of 1st open NFC Sartilly for Eric Cannon. 'Blue Bird' was half-sister to the Cannon's champion, `Culmer Lady', winner of 26th, 27th, 48th, 135th, 140th open Pau NFC, lifting the NFC Pau Merit Award, both being daughters of the premier stock hen, 'The Wood Hen', a daughter of Mr. Wood of Horsham's, 'Pride of Sussex', a big NFC winner. The great ‘Blue Bird’ was one my favorite champions of all time!

 

‘Culmer Beauty’ wasn’t one of Eric Cannon’s most famous champions, but she was certainly one of his very best racers in the 1970’s, flying in the Pau National team with the brilliant, ‘Culmer Blue Bird’.  In my time in the sport I have not heard of many pigeons that have scored five times in the NFC Pau Grand National and four of those positions being in first hundred on the open result, but ‘Beauty’ did. This wonderful hen recoded 26th, 32nd, 46th, 68th, 384th open NFC Pau and was a gift pigeon to Pat from N. Nelmes, and I remember she was a very good handling pigeon, being appled bodied, with great feathering. White pied pigeons weren’t really Eric’s ‘cup of tea’, but ‘Beauty’ was very special and he had some very good grizzles in his time, including ‘St. Swithin’ winner of 1st London SR Combine  Bordeaux and his daughter, ‘Julie Girl’, winner of 2nd Federation Bournemouth, 11th Federation Bournemouth, 23rd, 67th, 83rd, 177th open NFC Pau. ‘Beauty’ bred some very good Pau racers for the Cannon loft and she was the grand dam of the 1977 bred white pied cock, ‘Culmer Brian Boru’, winner 2nd section, 19th open NFC Avranches young bird National. This performance from Avranches completed the trio of performance to win the ‘Langstone Gold Cup’ for Eric and Pat in 1977. The Cannon loft won four NFC Pau ‘Merit Awards’ presented to pigeons that score three times in the first hundred in the open Pau Grand National results. If this award started a few years earlier, ‘Culmer Blue Bird’, ‘Culmer Beauty’ and ‘Culmer Julie Girl’ would have won the ‘Merit Award’, making it seven for the Eric Cannon loft. The Cannon loft has won countless positions in the NFC through the years, but the highlights have been: five times winner of the Langstone Gold Cup, for best average of three NFC races, 16 times 1st section in NFC races, 1st open NFC Sartilly, 2nd open NFC Pau, 4th open NFC Pau, 5th open NFC Sartilly, 5th open NFC Avranches, 6th open NFC Pau (twice), 8th open NFC Sartilly and so on. The Cannons had 74 positions in the first 100 open positions in the NFC Pau Grand Nationals and lifted the 3 bird Average from the Pau National six times.

 

That’s it for this week! I can be contacted for any pigeon comment 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).