Latest News

March 12, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report

Longitude & Latitudes

I have requested these from some of our new members and would be grateful if you could forward to me asap if not already submitted.


If you have not done so take a couple of minutes to check out the Sportsman FC article. The photographs of the NFC Transporter are impressive.

Vanrobaeys BE

Since the AGM I have had confirmation that they will for the 3rd season running, sponsor the Club. This is simply brilliant and we will continue to promote Vanrobaeys throughout 2017.

Young Bird Auction

Would members who are donating to this year’s event please let Jeff have brief breeding details of their bird(s).

Avian Flu

I have had no reports of fresh outbreaks from the RPRA. Hopefully the worst is over for the UK. There remain concerns about other parts of the EU not least France –lets hope this is arrested sooner than later.

Annual Subscriptions

Would members please ensure that these have been paid as soon as possible. Also your NFC and RPRA fees.

NFC Annual Young Bird Auction

This has now gone live and there are some well-bred youngsters on offer. Check out the advert in the BHW/RP this week also the NFC Website.

T3 Testing

Would those members intending to use T3 clocks this season make sure that they have been tested before racing starts.

Bob Mckie

February 26, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report

This has been a busy week what with the AGM and sorting out wider NFC issues.

AGM Wednesday 22/2/17

This was well attended with more than 50% of members making the journey to Toft Hill to be there and generally speaking all went relatively well.

Jim Nicholson took the Chair in the absence of Tom Riddle who was unable to attend due to NEHU Appeals business. The members showed their respect with a minutes silence for Dave Pinkney and Fred Mcluskey who both passed away in 2016. (Fred Mcluskey will continue to be remembered in the club with the change in partnership name of Thurlow & Strong to Thurlow Strong & McCluskey.)

Jim quickly moved ahead with Agenda items, the Minutes of 2016 AGM being accepted as a true record.

The strong balance sheet was accepted without questions.

There were a small number of resignations which were accepted and new applications more or less balanced the overall membership number out. We start 2017 with in excess of 40 members. Further applications will be considered up to the end of April.

When it came to Election of Officials we saw Jeff Walton take over as Chairman from Tom Riddle for 2017. Bob Mckie remains as Secretary/Treasurer. Jeff will incorporate his work as Events Secretary into the Chairman role.

2017 Club Subs £20 a loft.

Race Prize money and averages remain as 2016.

Sponsorship-remains an important issue to the Club. The Secretary is in discussion with Vanrobaeys and will keep members advised of developments.

Paul Stobbs, Stonehaven Lofts, will once again sponsor the Ancenis National with £100 for the race winner.

The Chairman and Secretary will continue to look for more Sponsorship opportunities.

The 2017 Payout will take place at the Sportsman on Wednesday 16th October 2017. (Get this down in your diary now!) Event will be organised the same as in previous years. There was a lively discussion on possible guests which the Secretary will follow up on. Members agreed to meet expenses such as Hotel costs if the main guest had to incur a long journey to be with us.

Spring Y/B Sale will be organised and run in mid-late April. Jeff Walton to take the lead as usual. Jeff suggested a slightly different approach which members accepted. This is aimed at reducing the pressure in the closing stages of the auction and removing the possibility of errors.

Members also agreed that we should run a small sale of Y/Bs on Payout night with a commitment from the membership that our Club winners would present a late bred to the auction.

NFC Business

There was some excellent news shared with members about progress on a Section N Marking Station (MS). The Secretary was just awaiting the green light from the NFC to open a MS at Bowburn with Transporter in attendance. (3x1st Nationals only).

Full approval came through for this on Friday last and details have already been announced-Great News!!

There was also discussion about Local Clock Stations -Toft Hill, Sunderland were confirmed. Alan Walker informed the meeting about good progress had been made for a station in Stockton which looks like a goer. Secretary will work with Alan to help make this happen.

Since the meeting we have acquired 2x T3s which will be sent to Linells for service and new batteries. These will be used as Master Timers.


Jim Nicholson gave a brief background as to why he may miss some racing in July this year. Yes after 60 years of marriage he is fulfilling a promise to his wife that they would have a holiday in the middle of racing season. Nice one Jim.

Bob Mckie / Jeff Walton

February 24, 2017

News Flash

To All Sportsman FC Members

It has been confirmed today that Section N will have its own dedicated marking station for the first three National races in the 2017 NFC Race Programme.

The Marking Station will be at the DJ EVANS Youth Club, Bowburn, DH6 5AN which is only 2 minutes from the A1M.

Birds will be marked on a Wednesday between 17.30pm and 19.30pm.

Bob Mckie will be I/C.

The Saintes and Tarbes race birds will be race marked at Sheffield.

Arrangements for the OH/YB National will be kept under review and a final decision made later.

I think you will agree that this is a major step in the right direction for National racing in the North East.

We are pressing ahead with plans to establish further Local Clock Stations and if you can help in anyway on this front please give me a call. As well as Toft Hill, Greenside and Sunderland we are looking to have a clock station in Stockton.

I will keep you informed of any further developments.

Bob Mckie

February 12, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report


On the 28th January my daughter Laura and I were guests of the SNRPC for their Prize Presentation evening at the Cairn Hotel in Bathgate. Also in the audience were Tom Riddle, Robert Dawson and their wives. This is one of the premier National clubs in the UK who put up some outstanding performances every year.

We were made most welcome and there was a great deal of interest in what the Sportsman lads were trying to do regarding National racing. It would not surprise me if we were to see a resurgence in NFC racing across Scotland the main issue is transporting to the Marking Station which would be greatly eased if Section N were able to establish one. As to the event it was most enjoyable — our friends in the SNRPC really do know how to enjoy themselves and the atmosphere was fun and very friendly throughout.

During the presentation there was a special award to David Power, NEHU Secretary who was made an honorary member of the SNRPC.

I will certainly make a point of attending future events to this well organised club.

NFC Business

Jeff and I have been actively following up on the Marking Station issue. Now that we have agreement from the NFC Management Committee to establish a section marking station the difficult job is to find the right location. This is not easy and we are pushing the NFC to have the transporter come North on the Wednesday night for basketing rather than ferrying birds down to Sheffield. Phil Curtis has agreed to discuss with the transport company what the practical and financial implications will be. Hopefully we will have more information by the AGM.

The other question we have for members is, are you having any difficulties in sorting any issues out with the NFC i.e. distances, handbooks etc. Please let me know and I will take the matters up with Sid Barkel.

2017 Sportsman FC AGM

This is scheduled for Wednesday 22nd February (Kick-Off 7.30pm) at the Sportsman Inn Tofthill

Agenda etc will be sent out to all members this coming week.

Bob Mckie

February 9, 2017

News Flash

Messac Show Race Cancelled

January 15, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report

Quiet week all round.

NFC has confirmed this year’s race programme:

  • Fougeres on 20th May (441 miles to Coxhoe)
  • Ancenis on 3rd June (509 miles to Coxhoe)
  • Messac on 17th June (477 miles to Coxhoe)
  • Tarbes on 1st July (798 miles to Coxhoe)
  • Saintes on 21st July (622 miles to Coxhoe)
  • Coutances on 2nd September (392 miles to Coxhoe)

This is a return to the programme of 2015 and before, with the majority who voted 2 to 1 in favour.

No other information about AGM decisions made today.

If any members are going to Blackpool next weekend don’t forget to visit the Vanrobaey Stand and thank them for their continued support. It will go a long way when negotiating a further deal for 2017.

Jeff Walton/Bob Mckie

January 8, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report

Can I wish everyone a happy New Year, good health and a prosperous racing season which will be upon us in no time at all. Blackpool is just around the corner which is followed quickly by the Club Messac Show Race.

Blog: still hoping that someone will step up to the plate and take on this responsibility.

NFC Business

The AGM is scheduled for next Saturday. I hope all of you have taken the time to consider the proposals and placed your vote. There are some critical issues which if passed will have a slightly negative impact on Section N arrangements. Don’t ignore your vote.

I have asked Phil Curtis to clarify the Management Committee thoughts on a marking station for Section N. I have been exploring the possibility of Ferryhill CIU Club which is only a couple of minutes from the A1 and could be a strong contender if the issue of crates and their transportation to Sheffield can be agreed. We will just have to wait and see what happens because there may have to be some tightening of the criteria allowing Marking Station requests. If we were given the green light then volunteer helpers would be a must”.

2016 Rings

If you ordered these through the NFC then you should have received them by now. Give Sid Barkel a call if there is a problem. There is an issue with NFC and MNFC rings numbers. This concerns them having 6 digits the first being 0 which is not compatible with ETS systems. This is currently being discussed with the RPRA. Watch this space for the resolution.

RPRA Business

The AGM is scheduled for late February. I have spoken to Dave Higgins about the possibility of a levy on non GB rings for racing. He is fairly confident that this proposal will now fail.

Avian Flu

This is unquestionably the big worry with no signs of the problem abating. Cases have now been confirmed in Yorkshire. There is no ban on exercising your birds but be vigilant and make sure wild birds do not have access to your stock and in particular drinking water.


I am aware that one or two members are members of the BICC. There is talk of a possible couple of new marking stations at Runcorn and Hull. The 2017 BICC race programme is on their website so if anyone is interested give Jeff/me a call to discuss.

Jeff Walton/Bob Mckie

December 19, 2016

Secretary’s Weekly Report

Bird Flu

As you will all know by now the ban on free-flying of birds around the lofts was quickly lifted. However the serious outbreak on a turkey farm in North Lincolnshire in mid-week simply reinforces the need for vigilance and everyone should ensure that active bio-security arrangements are in place. Remember the old adage a stitch in time saves nine’.


As we move forward into the new year I thought it may be interesting if one of our members would consider writing a weekly blog for the website.

This would be in the form of a running commentary on the preparation of their birds for the distance/National races. I appreciate it would be something of an undertaking but there would be undoubted benefits for our membership and much pleasure and sense of personal achievement can be gained from such a commitment.

If anyone is interested just give me a call to discuss further.

Finally this will be our final report for 2016. Jeff and I would like to take the opportunity to wish all members, friends and supporters of the SPORTSMAN FLYING CLUB a Merry Xmas and a Prosperous 2017.

Bob Mckie

December 10, 2016

Secretary’s Weekly Report

General Meeting (GM)

This week saw the final GM of 2016 being held on Wednesday the 7th.

There was another good turn-out and I was especially pleased to see Arthur White, from Throckley making a rare appearance. One of the longest standing NFC members in the North East, Arthur, has not enjoyed the best of health for a couple of years. He said he was keeping much better of late and was hoping to be competing again next season.

We kick-off the meeting just after 7.30pm:

The minutes of the previous GM held on 16/3/16 were accepted as a true record and there was a quick review of our pay-out night. The general consensus was it had been a great night, the presentation with Rod Adams and other guests had gone very well and as always the Buffet was well received. The small auction had proved a big success.

The Secretary then moved to NFC Business and reported back on the Presentation at Torquay. What appeared a very formal start to the event soon lightened up and an excellent night was enjoyed by everyone. There were some excellent speeches and whilst there was some brief mention of the Kelly” affair it was not dwelt on. Although reference was made to the vigilance and determination of the Secretary to root out mis-demeanours and any perpetrators. There was also plenty of plaudits for Phil Curtis the Chairman who despite a year fraught with health issues had worked relentlessly in what had been a most testing year.

NFC subs were now due and can be paid either on line or direct to the Secretary.

Cornwall will have its own Section for 2017. The House of Aarden has been the prime drivers for this. They have agreed a 5 year sponsorship deal with the NFC and full details will appear in the 2017 Handbook.

The AGM for NFC is scheduled for 16/1/17 which should be a lively affair!

The Secretary has also had a call from Ian Parsons, Cumbria. There is a new club being launched from 2017 to follow the NFC programme. This will be known as Cumbria & Dumfriesshire Greater Distance Pigeon Club” and is based on the Sportsman model”. Once up and running they would be looking to use any marking station opened in the North East.


2017 Subs increased to £10 per member per loft and £10 per Club. Payable before the end of February. Members can pay direct or the Secretary agreed to collect along with 2017 Subs at the AGM.

Show Race

After the success of this seasons show race from the Messac National there was much interest in a similar event for 2017. There was a rather long drawn out discussion on this score after which it was agreed that we should arrange a show race.

This will take place on Saturday the 11th February, and will be open to all club members and any NFC members who intend joining the Sportsman FC in 2017.

  • Race point Messac

  • Maximum 2 birds per member (1 Cock & 1 Hen) birds must be in the pen.

  • Birdage £5 per bird.

  • Single Bird £10 nom. (Winner takes All)

  • Prizemonies as follows: Show (Cocks & Hens) 1st £20, 2nd £15, 3rd £10, with £10 for BIS.

  • Race Prizes for first 4 birds with all entry monies paid out and £100 added same as 2016.

  • Judges still to be sourced.


AGM date agreed as 22/2/2017 (Kick-off 7.30pm) Agenda and copy of balance sheet will be text to members/sent by post where necessary.

Secretary asked for Agenda items to be submitted before 31/1/17.

He also reminded members that nominations for Club Officials positions were required.

Bob Mckie

November 29, 2016

Special Secretary Report

Sorry about the delay in drafting this report but thought I would leave until post Torquay weekend.

Well on Saturday the 26th all roads led to Torquay for the NFC Presentation night. I travelled down by train along with John & Steven Best where we also met up with Alan & Carol Walker which meant the Sportsman were well represented. There was also a handful of other Section N members in attendance including our friends John Rumney, Brian Hicks & George Anderson as well as George Purvis who remains very interested in the National scene.

This was my first time at the event and I was somewhat apprehensive about how the evening would proceed. Well we kicked off at 5.00pm once the top table of guests was in place a letter from Queen Elizabeth was read out and her best wishes were well received from the members after which the appropriate round of toasts” was completed. All a bit formal I was thinking yet in fairness once the food arrived and the drink was flowing a lighter more fun atmosphere was apparent. Following key note speeches from members of the top table in which mention was made of the difficult events dogging the NFC throughout the year. However these were not dwelt on and in no way did they detract from the evening. There was much praise and applause for the current Chairman Phil Curtis who is enduring difficult health problems yet it has not stopped his enthusiastic efforts in governing over the Club.

Likewise there was a big round of applause for Sid Barkel who has experienced a difficult year both professionally and from personal perspective.

The prize presentation was a bit drawn out but none the less very enjoyable with a very amusing winners” speech from Mick Locke this year’s Tarbes National winner Phoenix. Flying to the Wirral Mick sent 8 birds to Tarbes and got them all!!!!!!! Absolutely brilliant flying.

Once the presentation ended it was time for serious drinking and plenty of pigeon chat with old and new friends. All in all a really great event with genuine fanciers and nice people all after the same thing, flying National races and chasing the goal of winning an NFC Open”.

Really looking forward to next year’s event which will be held in Harrogate when hopefully the Sportsman members will have plenty of Trophies to collect.

General Meeting

Would members note the Agenda for our scheduled General meeting on Wednesday 7th December (Kick-Off 7.30pm).

  1. Minutes of last GM

  2. Review of Presentation evening on 19/10/16

  3. NFC Business

  4. Discussion on possible Show Race(s)

  5. Agree date of AGM including format /agenda items including proposals from members.

  6. AoB.

Bob Mckie

Competing in
The National Flying Club


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The House of Aarden