Latest News

April 9, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report

General Meeting 5/4/17

There was another excellent turn-out for meeting which went smoothly and in good spirit.

3 more new applications for membership were received and approved.

Jeff Walton is in the lead on the Young Bird Phone-In” sale which was fully discussed. Advert to appear in BHW on Friday 14th April. There will be 31 lots of top quality young birds donated by members and friends of the club from across the UK. Sale starts Saturday the 15th and comes to a conclusion at 9.00pm on Thursday the 20th. John Fellows will be supporting Jeff in the bidding process.


Had informed clubs on Wednesday that Defra had reported the lifting of all restriction Avian Flu zones in the UK. Pigeon racing can proceed as usual in the UK. Vigilance is still essential along with effective Bio-Security arrangements.

The situation across Europe is still vexed with 2 new outbreaks in the Netherlands and both Belgium and France have restriction zones in place.

Section N Marking Station at Bowburn

This was fully discussed with some constructive comments being discussed. It is down to the membership to make this a success and we agreed that flexibility was essential.

Local Clock Stations

These will be operated at Sunderland, Ferryhill WMC, Stockton and Toft Hill. Greenside is no longer viable.

Bob Mckie

April 2, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report

General Meeting will be held this coming Wednesday the 5th April (Kick Off 7.45pm)

Elimar Website

Take a look at the website and read the latest Jim Emerton interview with yours truly. All about distance racing in the North East, and raising the profile of the Sportsman FC. Hope you enjoy the read.

Young Bird Phone-in” Sale

Jeff is in the process of finalising the sales list. Please take time to study the birds on offer. There is no doubt that the young birds are class and will make great addition to our lofts. Once again we have had tremendous support from both members and supporters of the club. The advert will appear in the BHW so don’t be shy in bidding.

Bob Mckie


March 26, 2017

Calling all North East Fanciers interested in National Racing

The National Flying Club created a new Section N for the North East in 2016 and has now confirmed a Marking Station will operate at Bowburn for the first 3 races in their 2017 Programme.

This decision has removed the major problem of accessibility and gives anyone interested in flying against the rest of UK fanciers an opportunity to compete.

The Sportsman FC at Toft Hill was created with the intent of bringing NFC racing to the North East. However you don’t have to be a member to compete in NFC and if you do fancy testing your birds and skills against the best in the UK there is still time to join us for 2017 and use the new marking station.

However the benefits to joining the Sportsman are numerous not least the friendships and support given to all. We all share in each others success and remain strong in raising the profile of distance racing. We attract excellent support from sponsors and where necessary will arrange for birds to be ferried-in to Sheffield Marking Station in the extreme distance events when entry numbers do not justify the financial cost of sending a transporter this far North.

Of course National racing is not for everyone and many are put off by the thought of losing birds. It is true that you take some knocks but it is a real test of management skills to prepare your birds for these testing races. Fast pigeons that simply follow the crowd often fail miserably when switched to national racing and yet really good” pigeons do respond to the challenge. One thing for sure is that the Transporters used are top quality and your entries are exceptionally well looked after. When they return from a race their condition is invariably excellent.

So if you think your up for the challenge why not join the National Flying Club and have a go. Once you have experienced a couple of races I can assure you that many will be hooked!!

For more information just give me a call.

Bob Mckie (Mobile 07828961442)

March 18, 2017

Secretary’s Weekly Report

Bowburn Marking Station

On Wednesday night I had a get together with one or two members to sort out the requirements of the Marking Station. Everything is in hand and I will provide a full update when action points have been finalised.

Couple of key points were identified not least the need for helpers on the marking nights. I feel confident that this will not be an issue. Secondly and one issue which I will continue to emphasise. Members are personally responsible for ensuring that ETS ring numbers are recorded correctly and tally with your Pocket clock or Base unit. Any pigeon whose details do not meet this security test will be rejected and not allowed entry on race night. It is also important that you record the correct sex and colour of the bird.

Avian Bird Flu

There have not been any further reported outbreaks which is good news. The RPRA Website has up to date guidance on DEFRA requirements when near Restricted Zones and is worth a look.

Annual Young Bird Sale

Jeff is busy compiling the sales list. Please let him have details of your pledges asap if not already submitted.

General Meeting

There will be a General Meeting at the Sportsman on Wednesday the 5th April (Kick-Off 7.45pm).

Bob Mckie

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

Competing in
The National Flying Club


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