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Mick & Lorna Dickinson & Sons of Hemel Hempstead






Mick & Lorna Dickinson & Sons of Hemel Hempstead


I recently visited the Hemel Hempstead loft of Mick and Lorna Dickinson for a YouTube filming session after their wonderful 2016 racing season, which saw them win a long list of premier positions including 1st UBI Combine twice. The two Combine winners were both yearling widowhood cocks. On my visit the partner’s son and third pigeon partner, Stuart, told me, ‘another highlight of a wonderful 2016 racing season, apart from winning the Combine twice, was the Saintes NFC race, when we clocked six from our 16 birds sent and all were in the first 200 open in the result. We have been particularly pleased with the performances of our team of yearling widowhood cocks, which hopefully bodes well for next season’. The first Combine winner was the dark chequer cock, ‘933’ and he was purchased at the 2015 Spelthorne Breeder / Buyer Auction, being bred by the very successful Hathaway & Poole partnership of Egham. This game widowhood cock achieved club and Federation positions as a young bird and went on to win: 1st club, 1st Inter Counties Federation (2,322 birds), 1st UBI Combine (3,330 birds) Yelverton, velocity 1290ypm and 2nd club Honiton (234 birds). The other Combine winner was the De Rauw Sablon / Longhurst Janssen blue chequer cock, ‘720’ and his dam won 17th open NFC Tarbes for the Dickinson loft. In the 2016 season he won 1st club, 1st Inter Counties Federation (1,140 birds), 1st UBI Combine (1,850 birds) Carentan, velocity 1883ypm. Two fantastic yearling cocks!


Two other top yearlings for Mick and Lorna in the 2016 racing season were: the blue De Rauw Sablon cock, ‘734’ and winner of 1st club, 21st Federation Blandford (2,000 plus birds), 1st club, 20th Federation Salisbury (1,997 birds), 2nd club, 11th Federation Blandford (1,293 birds). The blue De Rauw Sablon / Longhurst Janssen cock, ‘745’ and he won 2nd section, 20th open NFC Ancenis in 2016. His dam won 22nd open NFC Saintes and his sire is inbred to ‘Smallen 970’. Other top performers were: ‘411’ winner of 3rd section, 5th open NFC Coutances (1,858 birds), 129th open BICC Le Mans (3,944 birds), 49th open BBC Fougeres (1,856 birds), ‘740’ winner of 10th section, 67th open NFC Ancenis, 11th section, 29th open BBC Coutances (1,858 birds), 21st section, 91st open BBC Messac (1,616 birds): ‘208’ winner of 125th open BICC Le Mans (3,944 birds), 137th open BBC Fougeres (1,856 birds), 225th open BBC Coutances (1,858 birds): ‘436’ winner of 23rd section, 62nd open NFC Fougeres, 5th club, 7th Inter Counties Federation (2,322 birds), 12th UBI Combine (3,330 birds) Yelverton. A brilliant 2016 season put up by wonderful team pigeons. Congratulations to Mick, Lorna and Stuart!


I really first became aware of Mick and Lorna Dickinson’s outstanding racing performances after they won the Spelthorne Breeder / Buyer race from Yeovil in 2013 for the second year on the trot. My ol’ mate and Spelthorne Breeder / Buyer organizer, Terry Smart, took me up to Hemel Hempstead to meet the Dickinson family, and I must what nice people they are, making us very welcome. The 2012 season saw Mick and Lorna win 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Spelthorne Open race and their fourth bird, which was bred by them, won 1st Breeder / Buyer (£1,000). The partners have had a brilliant 2013 racing season winning: 45th open NFC Messac, 55th open NFC Cholet, 92nd open BBC Carentan, 97th, 99th open BBC Niort (both pigeons found in the loft on my return from work), 49th,  63rd open  BBC Bordeaux, 17th open NFC Tarbes, 1st Spelthorne Breeder / Buyer Yeovil with Mick Nunn’s pigeon (£1,000), sent 16 birds to the NFC Carentan young birds National to win 35th, 55th, 57th, 58th, 280th open (3,330 birds) and 39th open BICC Guernsey (provisional).



The Dickinson partnership have a wonderful garden and loft set at their home in Hemel Hampstead, which is complimented with a big beautiful fish pond in the middle. The loft set up is: a 38ft x 8ft block built loft with a tiled roof with a corridor throughout the four sections and a corn store/office. The sections are composed of a natural section, widowhood hens and two young bird sections. There is also a 16ft x 6ft wooden loft with two widowhood cock sections and an 8ft x 6ft stock loft with a 6ft x 6ft aviary. The lofts are cleaned out every day with the race birds being cleaned out twice a day when they out flying. All birds are paired up at the end of January with the race birds rearing one youngster each, some of these are swapped from the best pairs the stock birds who themselves rear two rounds. This gives Mick and Lorna a team of 40-50 young birds per year. The hens are taken away when they leave the second round of eggs and Mick trains the hens as much as he can before they are separated, providing the spring weather is good enough!


Both cocks and hens are raced on widowhood, only seeing their mates on their return for 2-3 hours. Mick sends both cocks and hens to the inland races and once they have clocked two or three all the boxes are left open. At the channel races he always leaves one of the pair at home and the widowhood birds are then paired up for the longest races. The natural loft houses any later bred youngsters and any birds that did not make the cut for the widowhood team, and these birds are eased into the season, being mostly sent later in the year. The birds are fed on a number of brands of corn to give as many different grains as possible and he will add peas when breeding and maize when racing. The partners also feed a conditioning seed and peanuts.


The premier racers in the loft at the time of my first visit were: ‘43178’: a Janssen / Van Hee from Mike and Edna Shepherd of Stevenage and has won in 2013: 6th Sect. E, 17th open NFC Tarbes, 98th open BBC Niort, 151st open BBC Carentan: ‘68790’: 55th open NFC Cholet, 114th open BBC Fougeres, 340th open BICC Alencon: ‘29510’: 22nd open NFC Saintes, 72nd open BBC Poitiers: ‘15208’: This yearling widowhood cock has so far won; 45th open NFC Messac, 92nd open BBC Carentan, 290th open NFC Carentan. A fantastic team of National and Classic racer!


When I asked Mick about the early days and how in started up in the pigeon racing sport he told me, ‘I was born in Chipperfield, a small village about five miles from where I now live. I started keeping pigeons with some fantails which I caught from a dove cote when I was nine years old and my first racing pigeons came from Bob Anderson of Watford, who worked with my father at the ‘Sun’ printers. My grandparents lived nearer the school I attended, so I kept my pigeons in their garden and I also kept chickens there. I used to do a paper round and worked on a farm, to save enough money to buy an 8ft x 6ft shed which was my first proper loft and started racing at 15 years old, when I joined the Hemel Hempstead North Road Club which had about 60 members; unfortunately the club disbanded some years ago. I used to take pigeons training on the back of my motorbike and I never had any shavings left in the basket when I let them go! In those early days I used to help work out the club results and this was all done by hand, using long division with some of the clocks varying by 4 or 5 minutes. I remember the old Toulet clocks, when the strike from the second bird in the clock would be in before the first bird and the strike would cover about 20 seconds - those were the days! My first strain of pigeons I had were Sions, which I obtained from a fancier who ran a pub in Edlesborough, near Leighton buzzard and a young bird from them won my first card, 6th club Newark. After a few years on the north, I joined the Boxmoor South Road Club of which I am still a member. After getting married and starting a family, we have two sets of twins, three boys and a girl, I had a few years away from club racing due to work and extending our house, but I still sent to the National races when I could. I am a self-employed builder, which is the wrong trade for pigeon racing, being very busy in the summer and quiet in the winter’.


Mick and Lorna have eight pairs of stock and these are mostly Janssen’s from C & J Wheeler of Linslade and some Jan Arden’s brought in this year in the form of four De Raw Sablon hens. Lorna told me, they have found the Janssen’s good up to 400 miles so, they  have recently introduced some distance birds. Their best stock hen, ‘The Longhurst Hen’, was purchased from the late Roy Longhurst’s sale for only £15. This Janssen hen has been a champion breeder in the stock loft and has bred birds to win; 55th open NFC Cholet, 38th open NFC Saintes, 114th open BCC Fougeres, 22nd open NFC Saintes, 69th open NFC Saintes, 72nd open BBC Poitiers, 32nd open BICC Alencon, 70th open NFC Saintes, 53rd open NFC Saintes, 46th open NFC Saintes and many other positions. She is very much the grandmother of the loft as her progeny have also bred many of Mick and Lorna’s best birds. They have also over last two years introduced some young birds from Dave Hazel of ‘Lezah Lofts’ for the distance races. These have crossed in particularly well with the Janssen’s and they won the Spelthorne Open race in 2012 with one, and their first young bird in this year’s NFC race, 35th open (3,330 birds) is a cross. They told me, they are looking forward to the next few years distance races, where this new stock will hopefully perform at the distance also.


Their racing is targeted at the National races and competes in the NFC, BBC and BICC every season. Mick says, to prepare the birds for the national races we send to Boxmoor HS club races when we can and this is a very competitive club; with members including some of the strongest fliers in the country; M/M Corkett & Sons, Chitty Bros, M/M Carrick & Son, Terry Haley, Burgin & Marshall, Jeff Poole and Steve Buckle. Mick and Lorna would like to thank Dick Burgin for all the work he puts in to the club and for the training; he was good enough to take the young birds to Basingstoke for midweek training most weeks in 2013. After racing has finished in October all the birds are separated and moved to the brick built loft where they are left to go through the moult and they add barley to the mixture, and they are not let out (to avoid the hawks) until they are paired up in January. Mick said, ‘I have held most of the jobs in the Boxmoor club, including two five year stints as secretary and I also ran the Hemel Hempstead clock station for the National flying club for about 30 years. Today we race as Mr & Mrs Dickinson & Sons, with my wife Lorna being a massive help in the pigeon management, and she looks after the darkness young birds, and also takes care of any jobs if I am late home from work. My son Stuart, who lives close by, still takes a keen interest in the birds and helps clock them in on race days’.


That’s our article for this week! Thanks to Mick and Lorna for a very enjoyable loft visit and thanks also to my ol’ muckers, Terry Haley and Steve Howard, for the car ride up to Hertfordshire. I can be contacted with any pigeon ‘banter’ on telephone number: 01372 463480 or on my new email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.