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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

November 20, 2016

Secretary’s Weekly Report

General Meeting

Would members please note that the next meeting will take place at our HQs the Sportsman Toft Hill on Wednesday the 7th December (kick-off 7.30pm). Agenda will be published on the website shortly.


Annual Subscriptions for 2017. These can now be paid either online or by post along with ordering any 2017 rings which should be with you before Xmas if ordered early.

Bob Mckie

October 24, 2016

Secretary’s Weekly Report

Presentation Night 19th October

John & Steven Best top prize winners with Rod Adams & Isaac grandson of the Sportsman FC founder George GaskillJohn & Steven Best top prize winners with Rod Adams & Isaac grandson of the Sportsman FC founder George Gaskill Runner up at the Sportsman FC Bob McKie flanked by Tom Riddle & Rod AdamsRunner up at the Sportsman FC Bob McKie flanked by Tom Riddle & Rod Adams

Well what can you say probably one of if not the best presentation nights we have had since the Club started.

The place was busy from the time the doors opened with fanciers from all across the North East in the room with several attending for the first time. To those members who could not make it, all I can say is you missed a brilliant night.

Jim Sexton & Dave McSween winners of the Coutances youngbird raceJim Sexton & Dave McSween winners of the Coutances youngbird race Driver Dawson & Dawson winners of the Fougeres raceDriver Dawson & Dawson winners of the Fougeres race

Rod Adams was his usual ebullient self and made a fine job of the presentation and his chat afterwards was very funny and contained his usual gem” of a message in the telling.

Mrs Gaskill and Isaac, her grandson were also in attendance to present the George Gaskill Memorial Trophy to top prize winners John & Steven Best after an outstanding set of performances in their first year in the club.

Gary Heslington of Malcolm Heslington & Jones with Rod AdamsGary Heslington of Malcolm Heslington & Jones with Rod Adams Barry Blackett with Rod AdamsBarry Blackett with Rod Adams

After the presentation flower bouquets were presented to our host Belle, and Mrs Gaskill.

We then served up the excellent buffet which Belle had prepared by which time the room was buzzing.

Alan Walker & Rod AdamsAlan Walker & Rod Adams Brian Weimer with Rod AdamsBrian Weimer with Rod Adams

Later in the evening Gary Heslington acted as our Auctioneer and did a really stonking job selling 7 lots of birds donated in the aid of club funds. Special thanks to all the members who donated birds and to Brian Ford for his generous support. Also to Phil and William Curtis who entered a late bred for auction. Gary Heslington clearly has hidden auctioneering talents and was very entertaining. So many thanks again Gary. Finally a big thanks to everyone who purchased birds.

Jim Nicholson & Rod AdamsJim Nicholson & Rod Adams Our host Belle with Tom RiddleOur host Belle with Tom Riddle Mrs Gaskill with Tom RiddleMrs Gaskill with Tom Riddle

The night continued with plenty of good banter with several people expressing their intentions of joining the Sportsman next season. As always when you have a good time the time quickly passes and soon it was time to head home.

Many thanks to everyone who attended and we hope to see you again next year.

Bob Mckie/Jeff Walton

October 9, 2016

Secretary’s Weekly Report

The NFC Annual Dinner and Presentation will be held in Torquay on Saturday 26th November 2016

There are one or two club members already booked-up to attend this event which is one of the highlights of the NFC calendar. There is still time to book a ticket so if you fancy a long weekend give Mick Mcgrevy the NFC President a call. Full details in 2016 Handbook

Sportsman FC club presentation night this Wednesday 19th October at the Sportsman Inn at Toft Hill, kick off 8-00pm. Everything is in hand insofar as the planning is concerned. So all we need now is a good turn-out from the membership. Jeff and I hope to see you all on the night. We will have the presentation followed by the buffet then the auction of the fivebirds pledged by our Section N winning lofts. Guest auctioneer is Gary Heslington. Check out the October Y/B Sale page on this website for more information on the birds. All the five birds will be in the pens on the night. We will also have our usual raffle later in the evening.

Bob Mckie/Jeff Walton

October 9, 2016

Secretary’s Weekly Report

Back from holidays and it’s all go.

Presentation Night

Jeff and I are pushing ahead with arranging our pay-out night at the Sportsman on the 19th October. The main guest will be Rod Adams so we will have a real touch of class in our presence. Doors open at 7.00pm for an 8.00 pm kick-off. There will be the usual buffet prepared by our hosts John & Belle, a raffle and an Auction of 5 birds presented by club members who topped Section N this season.

Hopefully we will be joined by some of our club supporters including sponsors, show judges and both old members and one or two possible new members. Everyone is welcome and we look forward to a great turn-out.

More details of the birds to be auctioned are on our October sale page of the website so please take the time to have a look at what has been pledged in aid of club funds.

Bob Mckie/Jeff Walton

September 10, 2016

Secretary’s Weekly Report

Fred McCluskey

It was with great sadness to hear of the sudden death of our friend and fellow member Fred McCluskey. Fred was a giant character in the North East sport of racing pigeons. He took his role of President in the UNC very seriously and showed real leadership despite the many difficulties encountered. He was patient and determined to get things right but knew change was not going to be easily accomplished and always had the wider membership best interests at heart. From our club perspective I will miss his sound advice and friendship.

Condolences to his family at this sad time. Rest in Peace Fred.

Coutences OH/YB

After a 6 day holdover the birds were liberated on Wednesday the 7th. And what a mixed result we experienced. Watching the race play out on the NFC website I was confident that we had every chance of seeing birds on the day although early nightfall and darkness would be a major hazard.

It was therefore brilliant news when word came through that John and Steven Best at Stockton had timed an old hen just before 7.00pm.

Final result:

1st, John Best & Son, Stockton. They followed this up next morning with 4 more birds to also take 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th and 8th Club. Winning Section N for the second time this season.

In 4th and 5th club with 2 excellent timers is Brian Wiemer, at Hartlepool .

Jim Nicholson at South Shields timed 2 birds later on Thursday morning to take 9th and 10th club.

The Young Bird race was a different kettle of fish with no birds on the day it was the ever consistent loft of Dave McSween and Jim Sexton at Sunderland who grabbed the glory of taking 1st Club 1st Section N.

2nd Jim Nicholson of South Shields

3rd Malcolm, Heslington and Jones of Wingate

Well done to everyone who got birds home and congratulations again to John & Steven Best and Dave Mcsween & Jim Sexton on winning the Vanrobaey Sponsorship prizes.


Please remember our pay-out night will take place on Wednesday the 19th October. Bar open at 7.00pm for an 8.00pm kick-off. This is a night not to be missed make sure that you don’t miss it. Would last year’s Trophy winners get them back to Jeff or me in next 2 weeks. Thanks again.

Off on hols next couple of weeks so Jeff, will keep you apprised of any important developments.

Bob Mckie/Jeff Walton

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