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October 14, 2020

Dear Members

2020 Prize Money/Cards will be sent out to all winners later this week.

I am sure all the members will wish to congratulate all our winners especially John and Steven who not only win the Averages but attained the highest Open position with 18TV4331 in the Coutances OH National on the 5th September. They also had the Bird of the Year 17TV4206 who put up a brilliant performance from Fougeres on 6th July when winning Club, Section and 444th Open with almost 10,000 birds competing.

Then we had the winning performance of McSween & Sexton in the Coutances Young Bird National with GB20N67059 an awesome performance from 402 miles being the only bird home on the day in both the Club and Section winning 275th Open against a consignment of 3403 birds.

Also, a special mention for Allen & Carol Walker who timed their 6year old hen Lily from Pau winning the Club, Section and 325th Open flying 778 miles.

We should also send a big well done to Tony Lyons a new member to the Club who won the Messac National on a very testing day.

Trophies will be presented at the first opportunity Covid 19 restrictions are sufficiently relaxed.

I also wish to send thanks to Sid Forster (WDA), Duncan Knox (SNRPC) and Barry Winter (NFC) for judging the Bird of the Year Competition.

Finally, watch out for the new Sportsman FC Facebook Group which Ian Carter is launching to promote the Club.

Bob Mckie


September 7, 2020

BHW Show Of The Year: Blackpool 2021

Following my note in July, I can confirm that Ian Evans and I have held another virtual meetings with both The Winter Gardens and Visit Blackpool to further discuss the possibilities of holding The BHW Show of The Year in January 2021. We have also consulted the Show Committee and all stakeholders of the event. I can now advise that, with regret, the committee have come to the decision not to hold a Show in 2021 due to the uncertainties and risks in holding such a public event. We have considered reducing the size of the event and all possible means and formats to achieving a physical Show, but feel that to do so would dilute and devalue what has become an annual pigeon extravaganza. The Government have advised that they will make an announcement regarding the staging of similar events to the show at the earliest in October, such a time scale we feel would not allow us adequate time to effectively organise the event, and if we went ahead and they did place any restrictions on the manner it could be held this would cause disappointment to all involved. In addition we have to consider the welfare of all those involved in the show’s organisation during the event, stewards, judges, trade stand holders and the rest, and the possibilities that by holding the show we could be putting them at risk and become party to increasing the spread of Covid19. Taking all this into account and even considering a reformatted show we believe it is the responsible decision not to hold the show in 2021, and by making this decision early we believe we are being fair to everyone involved, saving them from making any potentially unnecessary arrangements, and financial outlay. We look forward to returning in 2022. Our 50th year, with renewed vitality and enthusiasm, to put on an event worthy of such an achievement, an achievement of which every fancier in the UK should be proud! See you in 2022!

David Trippett Chair — BHW Show of the year Committee
Ian Evans CEO

June 8, 2020


Over the past weeks we have been monitoring the situation in respect of travelling to France for the purpose of Pigeon Racing.

The following facts are relevant:

  1. The FCF will provide permits for liberations in France.
  2. The Government advises against non-essential journey.
  3. The UK Government will impose a 14 day isolation requirement on anyone entering/returning to the UK from 8th June 2020
  4. As a result of the isolation period imposed by the UK government the French Government will ask travellers from the UK to observe a voluntary 14 day self-quarantine period, effective from 8th June 2020.

What is an Essential Journey? The following has been taken from the Foreign and Commonwealth office and highlighted in italics:

Definition of essential travel’ Sometimes we say that only essential travel is advised. Whether travel is essential or not is your own decision. You may have urgent family or business commitments to attend to. Circumstances differ from person to person. Only you can make an informed decision based on the risks.

Are there exemptions to the 14 day quarantine? Yes. Initially this included haulage drivers’ with no further clarification. However this has changed recently and the following (in italics) has been taken from

Drivers of goods vehicles or public service vehicles and other employees of community licence holders for the international carriage of goods or passengers by coach and bus. You’ll need to complete the Public Health passenger locator form before you travel to the UK. You will not need to self-isolate for 14 days. You’ll need to show that your travel is part of your job, for example a letter from your employer, a consignment note or your operator’s licence.

Is the transportation of pigeons for racing purposes an essential journey? As clarified above, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office state that it is for the individual to establish what is an essential journey.

Will our drivers be exempt from the quarantine period? Without the exemption confirmed by the Home Office organisations will have to apply their own judgement. However, based on the information provided above, if the driver can demonstrate the journey is carried out as part of his/her job then they may be exempt.


We are currently working with the home office to achieve an exemption for pigeon transportation that would include those travelling for other reasons other than their job. This is being dealt with by the Home Office as an urgent request. In the meantime organisations should use their own judgement. This may include assessing any risk based on the information above along with further information available on the Government websites. A further update will be provided asap.

Ian Evans CEO RPRA

June 5, 2020

NFC 2020 Revised Race Program

Race 1. 4th July Fougeres basket Wednesday 1st July(entries to the NFC Sec no later than Monday 29/6)

Race 2. 18th July Nort-sur-Erdre basket Wednesday 15th July(similar distance Messac)(entries to the NFC Sec no later than Monday 13/7)

Race 3. 31st July NFC Grand National Pau(Friday Lib) basket Monday 27th July(entries to the NFC Sec no later than Saturday 25/7)

Race 4. 15th August Fougeres basket Wednesday 12th August(entries to the NFC Sec no later than Monday 10/8)

Races 5&6. 5th September Coutances Old Hens & Youngbirds basket 2nd September(entries to the NFC Sec no later than Monday 31/8)

May 4, 2020

RPRA update

Covid-19: Training and Racing

Firstly I would like to outline that Training remains strictly prohibited and anyone undertaking training may be jeopardising the achievement of a position whereby we can train and race as soon as is reasonably possible.We need to demonstrate that we can collectively follow simple instructions. While I am happy to say that we have received few reports in terms of police authorities having stopped and found fanciers undertaking a non-essential journey while training their pigeons; it is unfortunate to learn that some members have been dealt with by the authorities for carrying out training. In the interest of the sport and the wider community these individuals should stop immediately. You will be aware that myself, President and Vice Presidents have developed a protocol for race marking and clock striking. This protocol has been approved by the RPRA Council and presented to the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Pigeon Racing. Discussions have been escalated and we hope to be in a position to announce positive news in due course. However, I must stress that there are no guarantees. Continuing to train in the current restrictions could jeopardise our relationship with the authorities on whom we may be relying on to allow racing if and when restrictions are lifted Please be assured that we are doing all that is reasonably possible to achieve a position where training and racing can commence while adhering to certain restrictions.

Ian Evans RPRA CEO

April 28, 2020

Vaccination Code of Practice

RPRA Rules Page 29

As a result of current social distancing rules the requirement for the vaccinations of pigeons to be witnessed by two association members has been relaxed. Wherever possible vaccination should be witnessed by family members or members of the same household. This will remain in place until the Government lifts the restriction on social distancing.

Ian Evans RPRA CEO

April 14, 2020

RPRA Directive

Training Pigeons During Coronavirus Restrictions

As you will appreciate the decision taken to prohibit ALL training was taken in line with Government restrictions relating to non-essential travel and was therefore in reality a decision of Government. However, it seems that some members are continuing to train their pigeons while carrying out essential journeys, such as travelling to work. To provide clarity in relation to training we wish to confirm that ALL training is prohibited; even if carried out via an essential journey. Members should consider that training whether as part of an essential journey or not will result in pigeons straying/becoming injured. This may lead to pigeons falling into the care of non-fanciers who are unable to care for the bird. This WILL result in a journey that is totally unavoidable, whether its the owner collecting the bird or the non-fancier delivering the bird to a vet or a nearby fancier; thereby increasing the risk of spreading the virus and placing lives at risk. Anyone training during this period will be dealt with under RPRA rules relating to dishonourable conduct.

Ian Evans CEO

March 25, 2020


The following content has been agreed by members of the Confederation including RPRA, NEHU, SHU, WHU but excluding the IHU. As of 23rd March the UK government brought in further restrictions to limit the spread and impact of the coronavirus. As a direct result pigeon racing will be suspended until at least 23rd May 2020. The RPRA and other Unions will continue to monitor the situation. Updates will be published when available. Furthermore, the following applies to all members: Training of pigeons is classed as non-essential travel and is therefore strictly prohibited.

Ian Evans CEO

March 13, 2020

New RPRA Rule

Dear Secretary I wish to bring to your attention that the following new rule was implemented at the 2020 RPRA AGM When dealing with applications this rule should be considered and adhered - New Rule 159 (b) Any RPRA member who is refused membership of a club in accordance with Rule 159 shall be notified in writing. Such notification shall include a reason for the refusal. The applicant then has 14 days to object the decision to his/her local region. The region shall determine whether the reason is justifiable. If the region find that the refusal for membership was not justifiable then the RPRA member will be granted membership of the club.

Ian Evans CEO

February 29, 2020

Secretary’s Report

Firstly, January came and went with The Show of The Year being the main attraction. Personally, I gave it a miss this year and my only observation is the wallet feels heavier”! But I’m sure everyone will have enjoyed their yearly jaunt to Blackpool not least when meeting old friends.


At the Sportsman we held our AGM which as usual was well attended. All officials remain as last year. (However, we would welcome an Assistant Secretary for 2020 with a view to taking over the job in 2021 when I step down). We kick of the season with 37 members although new applications are still being accepted. Annual subscriptions remain at £20.

Our main financial concern is around transportation costs from Toft Hill to Sheffield. With the NFC tightening its financial belt we do face ever increasing cost in transferring the birds to meet up with the NFC Transporter (a round trip of 250 miles). For this reason, we will be running another young bird sale which will start Thursday 17th April and end 10 days later (Sunday the 27th) There will be a full advert in the Pigeon Press with details of each lot. The auction will be controlled through The Compare the Pigeon website”. The sales list is already well in hand and we have again received some generous pledges of young birds from top National UK lofts as well as top class young birds from our club members. So put the date in your dairy and take time to study the sales list you will be impressed by the quality available.

Messac National Show Race

Club member Gary Heslington stepped forward to be run the Club annual Show race on 22/2/20 to be flown in conjunction with the Messac National. In total there were 37 birds in the show pens for the judge Kevin Winter, to sort out. After a diligent selection he awarded BIS & BOS to Craig Thompson with Paul Kitching & Jeff Walton taking second places in the cocks and hens respectively. He also picked up the Deweert Trophy for BIS.

In total members will be competing for £285 race prize money split 1st £170 and 2nd £115 with an additional £120 Pools in the kitty. Best of luck to everyone competing. And a big thank you to Kevin who did a grand job judging.

Vanrobaey Sponsorship

Since the AGM I have also had confirmation from Vanrobaey Feeds that for the fifth year in a row they will Sponsor our full National race card with prizes from their range of both pigeon feeds and a quality racing supplements. Many thanks to Tom Demeester and his Agent, Terry Knox for their great support.

2020 Racing Season

We are rapidly approaching March and many fanciers are well advanced with breeding even have babies parted. Those more interested in the long to extreme distance races are less enthusiastic about early breeding nevertheless I suspect many long hours will have been spent wrestling with sorting out pairings. Unfortunately, the elephant in the room, is the fickle weather. It is some years since we experienced heavy and prolonged spells of snow in the North East, just maybe we have seen the last of the 6 feet snow drifts. Indeed, I believe the evidence of Climate Change requires us to review when we start and end the racing season, perhaps it is time to grasp the nettle and introduce mixed old and young bird racing as standard practice in the UK. Strategically leading Pigeon Administration bodies and National Clubs should be driving any reviews as individual members will themselves be unable to bring about change. Hopefully the RPRA will step up to the plate on this score.

Presently the heavy rainfall has caused horrendous flooding demonstrating the impacts of unpredictability brought about by Climate Change. It is for this reason and the lack of national leadership that I suggest fanciers reflect on racing conditions encountered in the last couple of years not least the extreme temperatures. If in 2020 we experience more violent rainstorms or extreme heat perhaps even a combination of both, I suggest fanciers may be challenged to reconsider their own approach to loft management and racing.

Personally, I have already selected the main target races for my team and decided greater discipline on my part is required. Firstly, not putting all one’s eggs in the same basket will be my starter for 10. Advancing the training schedule of the yearlings and adjusting the feeding regimes and arranging a full pre-racing health check in March has also been pencilled in the diary. There remain some 6 weeks before Saturday club racing starts let’s hope for a fair wind and good returns. Before we know it the first Nationals will be just around the corner and it will be time to rock and roll. Best of luck to All.

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