Friday Jul 25

U N C's Visitors

The Hong Kong Sevens

According to Wikipedia, the term “Old China Hand” originally referred to the 19th century merchants in the treaty ports of China, but evolved to reflect anyone with expert knowledge of the language, culture, and people of China; in other words a foreigner who is a China expert. It is also the name of a loud, bustling pub on Lockhart Road in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong, but more about that later.

Wan Chai or “Little Bay” had a reputation during the Vietnam War as an anything –goes red light district, a reputation and a reality that has far from entirely disappeared in this fashionable up-and-coming neighbourhood, where, in the right area, girls and “ladyboys” work the pavements outside the semi-legal girlie bars/brothels lining the street. This area was the real-life basis for the novel/film “The World of Suzie Wong” and where the five of us stayed for the duration of our visit to Hong Kong to see the Hong Kong Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament.

First let me tell you a little bit about Hong Kong. It is divided into four major areas, Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands measuring some 1104 square kilometres with a population of round about seven million people, a noticeable number of whom still go about their business wearing surgical face masks –after all the Far East gave Europe SARS (which killed 299 people, infected 1755 and just about closed Hong Kong down for weeks) and Avian Flu so I suppose it is a not unsurprising legacy of those outbreaks.

Hong Kong Island, with its amazing and instantly recognisable skyline, covers 81 square kilometres or just over 7% of the total land area and lies on the southern side of Victoria Harbour. It is crowded; the scarcity of land and the pressures of a growing population mean that the only development possible in the city is upwards, resulting in a veritable high-rise forest of commercial buildings and social housing which seem locked into a perpetual cycle of being (according to the Lonely Planet City Guide) “knocked down and replaced with taller, shinier versions almost whilst your back is turned.”

In 1997 Hong Kong was returned to Chinese sovereignty after being ceded to the British in 1842 and tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens, fearing the possible consequences of the handover, left in the run up to that date for pastures new in Canada, America, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The next crunch date will be in 2047 when the 50 year grace period of no change to the capitalist system and way of life (promised by the late paramount leader of China, Deng Xiaoping) expires.

The five of us were met at the airport by Ken (who is related through marriage to John, without whose meticulous planning our trip would not have got off the ground), a recently retired senior Hong Kong policeman, a 30 year time-served man, our very own “China Hand” so to speak, the man who made our visit the real treat that it was to become. I picked him out easily, even though I had never clapped eyes on him before, long before we got through the usual airport formalities; it wasn’t hard. With his height and obvious ease in his surroundings, he stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the crowd of much smaller, anxious-looking, Chinese.

Incidentally the Hong Kong Police Force(strangers would do well to note the word “Force”- not “Service”) which was established in 1844 with a staff of 35 believe it or not, now comprises of about 40,000 people, 3000 of whom work in the Marine Division which operates a fleet of some 143 vessels, the largest of any civil force! Nowadays there are not that many British personnel left in the force. Recruitment of Europeans began in the fifties or thereabouts and ended in 1994.

Ken had arranged transport to our hotel “The Charterhouse Causeway Bay” Wan Chai, a conveniently placed, comfortable and reasonably priced hotel (for Hong Kong at roughly £100 per night for bed and breakfast-which was particularly good) where one of the teams taking part in the 10’s competition, the “Borneo Eagle were also staying and also quite a few visitors from other countries also in the city for the Sevens competition.

We booked in and took stock of our surroundings in this, to us, most unusual city of narrow, litter-free, spanking clean streets, bamboo scaffolding, high density, high-rise buildings (up to 60 stories high, maybe more, built to cope with the seasonal typhoons) of mixed office and social housing, and a teeming, largely homogenous population of smallish, black-haired, round-faced people, pretty much all with small noses – at least by the standards of my own nose which sticks out like a sore thumb!

We had an appointment that night –jet lag or no jet lag we had to meet someone in the “Old China Hand” pub that night. Someone John knew who was over for the Sevens competition. The “Old China Hand” slap bang in the middle of the infamous red light district is, according to my lonely Planet guidebook, “hardly recognisable as the gloomy old dive where the desperate to drink (no one we know) used to find themselves, unhappy but never alone at 3am.”

It is open 24 hours a day, has a generously priced happy hour, internet access (which I never saw) and serves cheap lunches (which we never ate) but it did us until it was time to find somewhere to eat and we did meet the guy we were supposed to meet, wearing his 2012 competition T-shirt (and I do mean 2012) which he proudly told us that he’d bought cheap at Stanley Market. Of course, as you will read later on, I got that statement completely wrong!

The place was lifting, outside the street itself was lifting, and the inadequately clad Thai and Filipino girls (“me love you long time”) and their “mamas” were out and about on the pavements busy coercing not entirely unwilling, customers indoors, gathering around them like a swarm of bees and sometimes physically bundling them into their distinctly dodgy-looking establishments. There is even a hotel where rooms can be hired by the hour! We pushed our way past in search of food, led by the urbane and indefatigable Ken; a man who knew exactly where he was going and what he was doing.

The 369 Shanghai Restaurant, where Ken sometimes ate whilst working in the city, was jam-packed but the owner, who obviously knew him, made room for us and Ken ordered, in what seemed to me a fluent Chinese dialect, an ample supply of the delicious traditional  Northern Chinese dishes and the very tasty local Tsingtao beer. I asked about the language, about learning it and about the correct intonation of words which have very different meanings depending upon how they are pronounced. All we learned, really, was how to say thank you and the finger-tapping gesture with a similar meaning. Learning Cantonese, it appeared, was acquired via a combination of a college language course and oft-times what was politely termed by those involved as a “sleeping dictionary.” Think about it, I was a bit slow on the uptake too!

Chopsticks were the order of the day. Chopsticks and I don’t get on. We never have. I once went out on exercises with the local lifeboat. Kitted up just like the crew I noticed that the coxswain and several other crew members each had a tablespoon stuck down the front of their immersion suits. Intrigued by this I asked the coxswain what it was for. The “what an idiot, what an idiotic question” look was on his face as he replied to “eat my lunch with of course.” Boy did I wish that I had one of those spoons!

As we wandered off to flag down one of the many very cheap taxis plying the streets, two of our group (who shall be nameless) went missing, but not before handing me their credit cards and most of their money. Those boys are no fools! Their curiosity as to how all this red-light business operated, it seemed, had got the better of them and they had decided that further investigation was in order. We left them to it and headed for “home.”How they later got there, on foot, still baffles me as the next evening we couldn’t even find Lockhart Street on foot and had to hire a taxi!

I have long harboured an ambition to visit the Mai Po marshes, now a Nature Reserve jointly managed by the World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong and the government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and had written to them requesting permission months before but had received no answer. It is an unscratched itch that has bugged me ever since a friend of mine had done some pioneering bird watching there, many years ago, whilst he was working in Hong Kong (at the end of a round the world trip) as a newly qualified Civil Engineer. A trip I had been invited to go on and declined, but that’s another story for another time perhaps.

John, who can map read better than any of us, led the way to the famous Star Ferry at Central (Pier7) bound for the tourist information centre across the bay in Kowloon in Tsim Sha Tsui. You haven’t been to Hong Kong unless you’ve ridden on the Star Ferry which operates its fleet of electric-diesel vessels (all with the word “Star” in their name) on four routes across the harbour. At the tourist information office it pretty soon became obvious that my proposed visit to the Mai Po marshes was a non-starter as the very bright and helpful young lady attending to us ran into layer after layer of bureaucratic difficulties and was getting nowhere. She did suggest an alternative place, but as far as I’m concerned there isn’t one! Still I did see my first of many Black-Eared Kites, scavenging over the sea in the harbour.

Outside the tourist office touts were thick on the ground and one, advertising cheap suits, handed us a leaflet for just such a tailoring service operating under the rather unfortunate name “Stitch-Up Tailors”- which, as it later transpired, a couple of us very nearly were stitched up (at an entirely different establishment) but for their alertness when into the final stages of purchasing suits and shirts in Kowloon. Caveat Emptor – buyer beware! Hong Kong is a very safe city and purchasing goods pretty safe too (all the internationally well-known fashion houses have shops there) if you know the rules, but there are scams in operation, despite the best efforts on the police, and plenty of counterfeit watches on sale in the streets.

Back on Hong Kong Island we boarded a bus for Stanley Market, a right maze of a place selling mainly clothes, all kinds of bric-a-brac and some nice art, is where the aforementioned guy that we met in the “Old China Hand” had bought his rugby shirt – Stanley, Hong Kong, and not Stanley in County Durham, England. No wonder he’d looked puzzled when I asked him if he knew Grange Villa, where the “Fat Welder” lives! The penny took some dropping but when it did, it did big style. Good job that I never saw that man again!

The next day dawned, smoggy as usual, which was a bit of a pity as we headed for The Peak the 370 metre plateau where the company bosses built summer houses to escape the heat and humidity. The peak Tram is something else, being not a tram but a cable-hauled funicular railway built in 1888 by two men rejoicing in the names of Phineas Kyrie and William Kerfoot Hughes. Running every 10-15 minutes from 7am until midnight the climb is so steep that the floor of the tram is angled to help standing passengers stay upright and the view out of the windows somewhat alarming as the multi-storey skyscrapers surrounding the track all appear to be severely tilted to one side as the tram ascends!

Although used by a few residents (there are four stops before the Peak) it’s basically intended to transport visitors and locals to the shops and restaurants at the top – 8500 a day! A brisk walk around the shopping mall and a coffee served by a local man who knew more about Manchester United FC than I did, and we were off back down the line. It was all far too flashy and commercial for us and the, no doubt, magnificent view was spoilt by the usual smog so we set off for the Jade Market in Jau Ma Tei, where, knowing nothing about Jade (a multi-graded, ornamental stone much prized by the Chinese) we advisedly bought nothing.

An interesting place though, where we watched Jade being skilfully worked before meandering through the busy and aptly-named Reclamation Street market – the only tourists – where I saw some House Swifts hawking for flies above the busy streets. It struck me then how well the Chinese looked after their old, as I watched several laughing young people pushing and obviously enjoying the company of their ancient wheelchair-bound relatives. Hong Kong does not have a comprehensive Old Age Pension Scheme and over 90% of its senior citizens do not receive a retirement payment, which doubtless accounts for the number of really old people that I saw out and about working in the streets and markets.

Having previously revisited the first restaurant Ken took us to where we were recognised and ordered what we fancied (with a lot of help from the owner) we decided to spread our wings and went into the first Thai restaurant we found for what was my first introduction to proper Thai food, and Shangi Beer. I didn’t like it. Rubbery (and not Benny Hill “rubbery”) shrimp cake for starters followed by red Thai curry with fried duck and coconut milk. The lads enjoyed their meals but mine was knee deep in vegetables, which I am not a great lover of.

The Tian Tan Buddha, way up in the western hills of Lantau, (Hong Kong’s largest island) was scheduled for the next morning as the Sevens completion kicked off late Friday afternoon. Situated on the Ngong Ping Plateau it is a popular attraction for day trippers and foreigners alike and is reached by cable car. A form of transport that gives me the collywobbles and I was most definitely was not getting into a cable car with a glass bottom. No sir!

The Buddha, built in 1993, is constructed of bronze, is 34 metres high, including the podium, and weighs 202 tonnes. You can see it from miles away, but you can’t see the original Po Lin Buddhist monastery and temple for the tourist village that obscures it! Still the ride up offering fine views out over the airport and as cable cars go (and for me they can do just that) it is a bit out of the ordinary. We didn’t hang about. The Hong Kong Sevens loomed large in our minds, the main reason that we were in Hong Kong, and we didn’t want to miss the early games.

The Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens is part of the IRB Sevens World Series and 24 countries were taking part in the competition being hosted and organised by the HKRFU and held in their privately owned stadium, which holds, so I was told, about 40,000 spectators. It was to be our “home” for the next two days, two glorious, exhilarating days of sporting endeavour and entertainment such as I have never experienced before.

Seven-a-side rugby, which originated in 1883 at Melrose on the Scottish Borders and will forever be associated with a certain “Red” Haig, has progressed well beyond the days when it was mainly seen as a development tool. It is now, in some counties including England, a well-funded professional sport in its own right and will be represented at the forthcoming Olympic Games. Played out on a full-sized pitch, it is fast, tactical and exhausting, even at only seven minutes each half (ten minutes in the final) with a half-time break of two minutes. I was fascinated by it. The sheer speed, the way attackers and defenders tried to second-guess and counter each other’s moves, the dummy runs, the sudden changes of direction, the seizing of the moment, the bone-jarring tackling and the final decisive dash for the line.

We saw none of the 10’s competition and little of the junior events but we did see the Women’s final held on the Friday evening, which we spent in the infamous South Stand. The Sevens is a seeded knockout competition with four trophies up for grabs, namely, the Shield, the Bowl, the Plate and, the prize of all prizes, the Cup with its prize of US$ 100,000, and 30 points in the IRB Sevens World Series. As for the Stadium facilities, well there are 18 food kiosks, eight vending stations serving snacks and sandwiches to seated spectators and umpteen drink outlets and plenty of toilets!

Two huge television screens sited at the south end of the ground display the actions on and off the field. Particularly that of the people in the South Stand, many, if not most of whom are in fancy dress and, as the day draws on, well-served with drink! It is one colossal, good-natured party accompanied by a sound system second to none with a master mixer of music running that side of things. Naturally that was the end we gravitated to first. The serious watching came later. I mean, first things first, let’s be fair! It was 9pm when we left the stadium to eat with Ken at a rather unusually-sited restaurant, the Sheung Kee Delicacy, in what looked a bit like a supermarket, the Chung Complex.

We spent all of Saturday (from 10.30am until 7pm) perched high up in the East Stand opposite the centre circle, where no alcohol is allowed, on safety grounds I guess because of the steepness of the tiered seating, though it was available in the concourse below. Twenty four matches in all were played that day in very pleasant temperature and I enjoyed every one of them, never once leaving my seat, as poorly performing paper aeroplanes plummeted past me, launched from the rows above, French kids chanted “allez le bleus”, Black-Eared Kites circled above the ground before coming in to roost in a heavily wooded area just behind the South Stand, and a male Peregrine Falcon swooped effortlessly into the roof supports right over my head.

The crowd as you might expect were clearly in good humour, for example one of our party loudly asked another one of us, who, returning from the bar was blocking his view, to “sit your fat backside down” (in not quite those words) at which a nearby lady clapped her, admittedly largish, behind smartly onto her seat, only to receive the completely spontaneous “apology” of “no, no pet, not your fat backside, his.” It was that kind of day, beginning when one of the two members of our “Red Light Inspectorate,” mistaking the knock on his bedroom door for one of us waking him up, had bellowed out “me love you long time” before opening the door to find a couple of laughing cleaning ladies outside!

We had a proper Thai meal that night at the Red Chile restaurant, ordered by Ken of course. Steamed fish (red mullet steamed on our table) and as fine an assortment of Thai dishes as any man could wish for. It was then that we discovered that neither the Thais nor the Chinese are “big” on sweet dishes for “afters.” Red bean jam pie was just about edible but the jelly-like concoction served to us that night was something else. It had to be levered off the plate, and then levered off whatever utensil was used to pick it up. The limpet jelly, as we named it was, certainly had hardened superglue beat for consistency, adhesive properties and probably for taste too!

Sunday was the big day. The day of all the quarter finals, semi finals and finals in the four competitions, Shield, Bowl, Plate and Cup, play to begin at 9am. We wanted good seats in the West Stand and as tickets for this competition entitle the owner to a seat anywhere in the ground, we needed to get there early and were in fact in our seats well before kick-off, right behind a group of Kiwis who had travelled to Hong Kong from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The Samoans, they asserted, were their “noisy neighbours.” Ken soon joined us and had thoughtfully brought with him a large packet of delicious dried mango slices and sandwiches.

The national “physical types” (very generally speaking) were all there to be seen. The Kenyans, tall, thin and fast, the Fijians, Samoans and Tongans big, strong and quick with it, the Japanese, Chinese, Malaysians and Koreans small and stocky could also move a bit; there were all the body types in between, each with its advantages and disadvantages. It was fascinating to watch them in action on the field with the Japanese supporters below us ably demonstrating to the East Stand how to make paper aeroplanes of all shapes and sizes which really could fly. Oh, and the Peregrine made a guest appearance chasing a low-flying Spotted Pigeon, which only just escaped by diving into cover at the last moment – ten more yards and it would have been history- and a Eurasian Kestrel came in to roost as nine Black-Eared Kites circled overhead. It was some day!

England were beaten 29-17 in the final, which I thought was a fair enough result as they had only played really well the once, in the preliminary rounds. There had been a march past at mid-day, “Blush” a pop group, performed live before the finals but the closing ceremony after the presentations ended was simply superb and made me glad that I’d taken my best camera to the final day. It would have done credit to any major sporting event and the crowd remained on their feet until it was all over. Every team, from the minis and youth sides up to the 24 national sides paraded around the pitch, dance and gymnastic teams, pipe bands and a duo of operatic singers all did their bit. Spotlights probed the pitch and a splendid firework display ended the show.

Finding somewhere to eat as the crowds dispersed wasn’t easy but Ken managed it with his usual aplomb even though he had to hunt around the city for a while. We had to shop around to find a decent watering hole too, after trying two or three places including the very impressive, venerable premises of the Hong Kong Rugby Club of which Ken is a member. He got us in, but we just couldn’t get to the bar let alone find an area in which to sit and drink. As far as I was concerned merely looking at the pictorial history of the club displayed on the corridor walls, was in itself reason enough to visit it.

Monday, was our last day in Hong Kong. The weather forecast read “Pollution- high, Humidity -50-80%, UV Index - 8, and Wind -Force 4.” The day was to be no anticlimax; even after all we had seen and done beforehand. Ken had another treat in store for us, a visit to Cheung Chau Island, but first we visited the MTR (Mass Transit Rail) station where we deposited our personal baggage at the left luggage counter and booked our suitcases etc onto our flight - at the station! The next time we saw our hold baggage was at Newcastle Airport; such efficiency. America beware!

Cheung Chau Island, once a refuge for pirates working the South China Seas, (especially the infamous and powerful Cheung Po Tsai who was said to operate a flotilla of 600 Junks and to have an army of 4000 men) is shaped like a dumbbell, is not very big (less than 2.5 sq km of territory) yet has 30,000 inhabitants (mostly working in fishing and aquaculture), a few of whom still live on junks and sampans anchored in the harbour, where I spent some time watching a man who only needed a Cormorant or two to be the living embodiment of the eye-catching HSBC television advert! The village, where the ferry docks, is the only real settlement on the island which has some nice sandy beaches and no motor cars making it ideal for both day trippers and as a place to retire to.

Unfortunately we were too early for the Bun Festival, unique to the island, which has nothing to do with bread, but is an eight day Taoist Festival involving, amongst other things the building and climbing of a 20 metre high tower built out of bamboo scaffolding! We thoroughly enjoyed our last genuine Chinese meal at an open-air cafe by the harbour before boarding the ferry back to Hong Kong, saying our goodbyes to Ken, who was bound for the UK via Singapore in a few days to live not far from us in the North East (so hopefully we shall meet again soon) and set off via the quite brilliant, efficient, cheap and spanking clean MTR system for the airport and the long journey home.

You will have noted, no doubt, not a mention of pigeon racing in this account. Well it’s long been my personal conviction that compromise is the true art of living and compromise became necessary on this trip. “Ideals are fine and personal things, to be cherished whatever the cost, but compromise waits always in the wings, for when the ideals are lost.” I had, courtesy of Lee Fribbins of the “Racing Pigeon” newspaper, been given the name of a fancier in Hong Kong who was willing to let us visit his loft but at the last minute it transpired that he spoke no English and (due to there being several dialects in use - none of which the other dialect users can perfectly understand, so I was told) we would probably have needed the services of a professional paid translator which was out of the question.

The Mai Po marshes and bird-watching in general was also out; needs must when bureaucracy rules, but I did manage some incidental bird-watching, and saw a dozen or so species of birds entirely new to me. The Mai Po marshes are losing their fight against seaborne pollution from the population living further north of them, and no doubt their admission policies are designed not to put the reserve under any further stress. The authorities in general are trying to rectify pollution problems, but not very hard, and here I quote “even a small measure such as taxing plastic bags entailed years of feasibility studies, consultation and policy debate, and it is yet to happen.” Just so!

Prior to leaving for Hong Kong I had jokingly threatened my good lady that I’d bring  a little Chinese lady back with me if she didn’t behave herself, which she usually doesn’t, and in the event things worked out beautifully. After some 20 odd hours of travelling Trevor and I had got to within two or three miles of where we live when the Metro system broke down, and we were directed to the nearby bus station. As we boarded so did a smallish, stocky dark-haired young woman who explained to the driver that she wasn’t sure which stop she wanted but she was to be picked up at East Boldon Metro station by some friends and that is where she wanted to be.

Ever the gentleman, I broke into the conversation and explained to her that the bus didn’t go there, but my plan was, if I could get into contact with my wife, to be picked up at Boldon Colliery or failing that I would get a taxi and drop her off at the desired Metro station. Sure enough before we got to the planned pick-up point my wife rang Trevor (I hadn’t my phone with me) and things were arranged there and then. I know, I know, you’re ahead of me but a little patience please!

There we were, the three of us plus luggage, standing on the pavement when my good lady drove blithely past us; first in one direction and then in another. I finally caught up with her when she was stopped by the traffic lights, got in the car, and directed her to where my mate Trevor and the unknown young woman were standing with our bags. I got out, my wife got out. My big moment had arrived. “I’d introduce you” I said to her, gesturing at the dark-haired stranger, “but I don’t know her name.” The perfect ending to a near perfect trip!

Postscript.

Passing through customs at Hong Kong airport I got separated from the group and went through on my own as they waited for me on the other side. “It wasn’t your turn” the Customs Officer said to me. I was nonplussed, as I hadn’t pushed past anyone, so I said “pardon?” “It wasn’t your turn to win” he said. “Gambling is big, big money in Hong Kong” he went on, “and for that kind of money people can be bought. It’s your turn next year.” Make of that what you will.

ROD ADAMS.

Woodroffe Brothers Sunderland

A MEGA WIN BY MEG.

FOR THE RECORD EQUALLING WOODROFFE BROTHERS OF SUNDERLAND.

By Jack Curtis,

 

The Band of Brothers.

It was back in 1958 that I joined Cornhill Homing Society, and one of the first friendly men I met was the late Albert Woodroffe senior, who seemed to like my style and conduct in the weekly club meetings, always held in the HALF WAY HOUSE pub. Within a very short time I became chairman, and through this link I was invited to visit his home and loft, which was situated in the back yard at Frank Street, and through this invitation met a young Albert who was cleaning the hens out, an even younger Fred, and baby David who was lying snug in the bottom drawer, of a big chest of drawers in the living room. This was a real family home with mother Ann at the helm, and brother and sisters all living in that carefree environment, with dogs, ducks, budgies and much else besides. This was my first real encounter with the Woodroffe family, who made me welcome to their home and showed me their pigeons, which were basically of Vandervelde blood lines, and I use the word THEIR as even then young Albert and Fred had a part to play, in helping their father who unfortunately was later killed in an accident at Wearmouth Colliery.

This event left his wife Ann with nine children to raise, and made the elder members of the family grow up rather quickly, but Ann rose to the challenge and could be rightly proud, of her achievements, a courageous woman by any standard. She lived to see all of her children settled, and wore her sons first GOLD MEDAL from 1983 right up to her death, and was justifiably proud of her three sons who followed their father into the world of pigeons racing. This then is the length of my links to the WOODROFFE BROTHERS, with whom I spend a fair amount of my leisure time, but do very little work due to my COPD, however I am a good talker and listener so we get along fine.

 

A NEW BEGINNING

The year 1970 saw the brothers establish their new identity, and began racing as WOODROFFE BROTHERS with success coming early, as they started their quest, which was to top THE MIGHTY UP NORTH COMBINE.

 

 

2

The verve of youth saw them search out quality pigeons, then work their socks off conditioning and training this team, with all three dovetailing the team work, and young Dave who was still at school galloping around during his lunch break doing the important things Albert and Fred couldn’t do because of their work. Today that team work is still very much in evidence, as Davy is always first to the loft at about 5-30am, turns the hens out for their 40 to 60 minute fly depending on circumstances, and cleans them out while they fly and traps them to a little seed, then lets them settle down. Next he cleans the stock loft out then takes the Ybs off the darkness, feeds them about a quarter ounce of depurative per bird, then off he goes to work for an 8am start.

However that is only half of his input, as he is back by 4-50pm to clean the stock loft again, darkens the YBs down for the night then traps any pigeons in from training tosses, plus any other jobs he see’s which need attention, and that is Davy Woodroffes normal daily input into this loft, not a bad shift Son. JC.

 

Albert the eldest brother arrives a while after Dave has left, then turns the cocks out for their morning spin, with the duration again varied to suit the circumstances at any one time, and he cleans their section out change the water and gives them a light feed.He uses four compartments for the cocks, and two for hens flying the round about system, with the hens on vee sitters where he watches for any signs of lesbian activity, and swiftly removes any active hen to the aviary to cool off. He uses a light mix at the beginning of the week, either Gerry plus or super winner, while in the evening they get a full W/H mix selected from the best available each year. The hens are shown for various lengths of time, prior to basketing, depending on the race being prepared for, while the afternoon exercise is varied and training tosses are sometimes used instead of exercise around the loft, and this is timed to coincide with Davids return from work, but everyone including me insists that Albert cuts the grass.

 

Fred is the middle brother and he arrives at 12-30 pm each day, as he works split shifts as head caretaker of a large local education academy, on the other side of the city. He takes the YBs straight from the nest, settles them into their own loft where they are vaccinated for Para immediately, then wormed, treated for both canker and cocci and gradually settled.

 

 

 

3

Once his babies are flying strongly they have to fly for at least one hour, as some young cocks want to be down chasing the hens, so they are flagged if need be, then a couple of weeks before racing starts they are trapped quickly, to learn this habit when training starts. This begins with a series of short flights from 2,5,10, & 20 miles prior to racing commencing, with Albert doing the driving and Fred trapping them in at home, in fact Albert does 90% of the training. Fred cleans and feeds his YBs from day one, treating the feed with either Flaxseed oil,Garlic oil, or Sunflower oil, which allows either Provit in powder form or Oregano to be applied then fed. The bath is given once a week, but the youngsters have to be watched due to the danger of RAPTOR attacks, which are always at the back of peoples minds now, and sometimes it is better to let them bathe in the aviary if you are worried, by the frequency of the visits of these harbingers of death. Now that brief outline gives you some idea of the disciplined approach of these three men to pigeon racing, and it is this discipline and methodical attitude that is the real basis of their success.

 

A TSUNAMI.

It was on Sunday the 12th of May 2013 that the north east of England produced another PIGEON TSUNAMI, when Chief Convoyer Steve Profitt released 16,894 UNC pigeons, who were joined by a further 6,878 from the WDA,NNA,& DC, in an instantaneous liberation from Eastbourne. The time was 06-15am, the wind northwest, with the combine members flying between 270 to 360 miles, and a good race was expected. What we actually got was a WORLD CLASS RACE in my humble opinion, judging by the performances put up by the fanciers of the North East, but let me explain my views. The UNC saw 200 pigeons timed with a drop in velocity of 36.03 ypm, or roughly 8 or 9 minutes to get on the official result, and that result only covers 1.18% of the total birdage for the combine, a staggering tiny percentage. It gets even harder with the NEHU OPEN when only 100 out of a total birdage of 23,772 pigeons figure in the open, which equates to a mere 0.42% or much less than half of one percent, think about it. The other statistics which hit me is that the UNC result was over in a drop of only 36.03 ypm, or 8 or 9 minutes to see your name in lights, while the NEHU OPEN RESULT saw 100 pigeons recorded in only 27 ypm drop in velocity or about 6 minutes.

 

 

4

Now that is the size of the competition in the north east, and as the late Frank TASKER said to me, when he was up at our prize distribution, “ It is bloody hard to win up here”, but to me it shows the sheer quality of our fanciers in general, to produce the level of fitness in their pigeons, to create that DYNAMIC result.

Now I am not going to bore the pants off you, but I always analyse each race result and what I get from this race is, great multiple groups of pigeons contesting the same yard of velocity. There were 10 pigeons on 1449, 10 on 1447, 9 on 1438, 11 on 1437, a massive 19 on 1435, and 15 on 1433, I lie not IT WAS A TSUNAMI, with pigeons cascading in , all over the combine. BRILLIANT.

 

What Did It Take to Win.

Now I am not going to beat about the bush, I saw this winner come racing flat out and trapping like a bullet, to win by 1.19 ypm, flying just under 298 miles, with a flyin g time of 5-57-9 to be followed by two loftmates at 5-58-27 and 5-58-32, and they claimed 6th and 7th Combine. At 5-59-37 they timed again for 19th combine, then at 6-1-36 for 43rd, followed by another at 6-1-41 for 46th, then 6-4-12 to claim 99th, at 6-5-50 they take 178th UNC for a good days work, with the elusive 1st UNC for good measure..

Not only did they win the combine they also won the NEHU OPEN the NECC,THE TWCC, & NETBC, for good measure, so all in all A DAY TO REMEMBER.

This Brilliant Combine Win takes their outright wins to [FOUR], yes 4 to equal the most wins by any loft, the sting in the tale is that the other lofts to achieve this are all down in East Cleveland, and Peter Bennett has produced a super montage of these four magnificent pigeons, to go with this article.

Champion Meg.

This beautiful little Blue Hen has won six great federation turns, including a 1st,2nd,3rd plus a 2nd Section 4 with 5,613 birds ,and a 1st section 4, to go with her 1st UNC and 1st Open NEHU, where she beat 23,772 competitors from the whole of the north east. She fully deserves the title “MEG” as she is named after my late BEAUTIFUL wife who shared my life for 55 years, and the LADS and Alfie Hawthorn her breeder know what this means to me. She is a lovely type in the hand with everything right, plus a cracking eye with a brilliant dilute from 5 to 9 oclock, in a great yellow based eye, but her breeding is superb so lets have a look.

Sire is GOLDEN EYE who is from YOUNG FEMKE and his brother won 1st National against 21,000 birds. The dam of Golden Eye is DEB and she was Best YB in the Fed in 2005, then stock and dam of at least six individual fed winners, plus a flood of winning

5.grand children etc. DEB carries Woodroffe bloodlines in both her sire and dam ,with lines tracing back to the original base via THE TELE COCK, and his nestmate APACHE 1st UNC Folkstone 284 miles, with 26,576 birds competing, in 1983. Alfie Hawthorn

Went direct to Piet van de Merwe for Young Femke, and due to the class he produced with DEB he decided to go back again, which resulted in the purchase of a lovely Blue Pied hen from Piet’s number one stock pair, who is a full sister to QUEENIE a winner of 1st from 24,000, and she is the dam of CHAMPION MEG. This No 1 stock pair are a little bit special, the cock “Jort” has a 1st from 11,229, a 16th from 10,927, etc, while the hen “LAURA” has won

2nd from 22,571, 3rd from 38,401, and 5th from 30,357 birds, need I say anymore. [CLASS WILL TELL].

Over the years there has been a multitude of Federation Winners as the montage from 1984 proves, however the dam of GOLDEN EYE is from a G/Daughter of Woodroffe Bros old Dark Hen, and she was from a son of TELE SAVALAS, nestmate to APACHE and they were both from Kissabella, who was from a half brother to halfsister mating from GEORGE BUSSCHEARTS great cock CHAMPION RAPIDO. That is the quality of the cross into Piet van de Merwe’s line of pigeons, all top quality material and the Lads No1 stock Cock at this time is POPEYE and he is from a full brother to the OLD DARK HEN, known as BUSTER and he in turn is the catalyst in the line which came down through MISS ALI, via his brother BLUE BUSTER and they produced BIG NOSE who sired some superb pigeons with IRIS 1st UNC Maidstone with 17,379 birds competing, including a massive Stock Hen for Martin Ali as well as the Lads and other fanciers.

The loft Mates.

Apart from ‘Champion Meg’ the 2013 season has thrown up another in the shape of a cracking Dark Chequer Hen, whom I shall call “Champion Ellen”, as she has made the three Eastbourne races, her speciality as follows. First race she flew 3rd Club, 4th Fed, 6th Section 4, 7th UNC, 7th Open NEHU 23,772 birds competing, winning 1st Fed 2 b ird club, 1st NE 2bird club, 1st NECC, 1stTWCC, for a start, beaten by two loftmates. At Eastbourne II she came again for 4th Club, 4th Fed, 3rd TWCC, and 6th NECC, and 50th UNC from 11,572 birds. Plus she won 4th Club, 4th Fed Rivenhall, and 7th Club, 9th Fed Melton Mowbray in warm up races . Finally she went on to Eastbourne III, and came up again to win 1st Club, 1st Fed, 1st Section 4, 5th UNC, 7,312 birds competing, and again winning 1st TWCC, and 1st NECC. Now that is some hen with a 7th from 23,772, then 50th from 11,572, and finally 5th from 7,312 birds and all at just under 300 miles, plus a pile of Championship Clubs, A SUPER STAR.

 

 

 

 

6

She is no fluke either being bred in the purple, as her sire is direct from BRAVEHEART 1st UNC Andrezel, 3,849 birds , flying 473 miles and mated to a special hen via Sheldon Leonard. Her dam is a direct off Stans Pride, winner of 1st WDA Billericay Yearling Classic 1,166 birds, 3rd WDA Arras 4,215 birds, 5th WDA Billericay 5,737 birds, and 9th WDA Arras 3,752 birds, when he was mated to a daughter of Colin Chapmans BRILLANT stock hen RACHEL, dam of TWO BIRDS OF THE YEAR in two consecutive seasons, in THE ENTIRE UP NORTH COMBINE. These two brilliant hens are backed up by several other class loftmates, such as the Cuester hen “Michele”who has won, 2nd Club, 3rd Fed, 6th UNC, and 6th Open NEHU 23,772 birds, then 8th Fed Melton Mowbray followed by joint 1st Fed,2nd TWCC,5th NECC, 6th Section 4, and 28th UNC 11,572 birds from the second Eastbourne Race. The loft recorded seven pigeons in the open result at, 27th,28th,50th,79th,80th,103rd,138th, plus 5th and 6th North of England Championship Club, and this race was over in 42.5 ypm drop in velocity. There are three siblings who have flown well, the first cock has won 1st Club, 1st Fed Bubwith, and 1st Club, 1st Fed Peterborough, his brother has won 4th Club, 4th Fed Bubwith beaten by two loftmates, and 1st Club, 1st Fed, 1st 2bird Club Melton Mowbray. Not to be outdone their little sister has flown 3rd Club,3rd Fed Rivenhall, 8th Club, 10th Fed Melton Mowbray, then Joint 1st Club, 1st Fed, 5th Section 4, 27th Open UNC Eastbourne II 11,572 birds, THREELITTLE BEAUTIES.

A TOAST TO THE LADIES.

The season of 2013 and the South Coast town of Eastbourne will forever be associated with THREE BRILLIANT LITTLE HENS, who have flown their hearts out for us, the thrills and pleasure they have created is enormous, and makes all the striving and planning well worthwhile, they have been wonderful, we are just grateful to have witnessed their brilliance.

Well now I think I have given you enough, but FOUR OUTRIGHT UP NORTH COMBINE WINS over exactly THIRTY YEARS, is certainly something to CELEBRATE so come October that is what we will do. However I cannot finish without thinking of our friends, who visit and support us, such as the NEE LADS Peter and Malcolm, Billy Goddard, Graham Jones, the brilliant Martin Ali for 35 years a true friend. Mr 2nd Combine Colin Chapman the double Bird of The Year Winner, Alfie Hawthorn another cracking Lad 7..who I owe my personal THANKS, then there is Micky Hays and Mark two smashing Men, then the Lads cousin Mick Summers who is always there when needed, not forgetting the irrepressible Barry Watson, and last but not least Alberts personal .decorator Stu Wormleighton, a rising STAR if ever I saw one. Now if I have missed anyone I apologize, but my old memory isn’t what it used to be.

To everyone who has contacted the Lads and me, THANK YOU. Jack Curtis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A MEGA WIN BY MEG.

FOR THE RECORD EQUALLING WOODROFFE BROTHERS OF SUNDERLAND.

By Jack Curtis,

 

The Band of Brothers.

It was back in 1958 that I joined Cornhill Homing Society, and one of the first friendly men I met was the late Albert Woodroffe senior, who seemed to like my style and conduct in the weekly club meetings, always held in the HALF WAY HOUSE pub. Within a very short time I became chairman, and through this link I was invited to visit his home and loft, which was situated in the back yard at Frank Street, and through this invitation met a young Albert who was cleaning the hens out, an even younger Fred, and baby David who was lying snug in the bottom drawer, of a big chest of drawers in the living room. This was a real family home with mother Ann at the helm, and brother and sisters all living in that carefree environment, with dogs, ducks, budgies and much else besides. This was my first real encounter with the Woodroffe family, who made me welcome to their home and showed me their pigeons, which were basically of Vandervelde blood lines, and I use the word THEIR as even then young Albert and Fred had a part to play, in helping their father who unfortunately was later killed in an accident at Wearmouth Colliery.

This event left his wife Ann with nine children to raise, and made the elder members of the family grow up rather quickly, but Ann rose to the challenge and could be rightly proud, of her achievements, a courageous woman by any standard. She lived to see all of her children settled, and wore her sons first GOLD MEDAL from 1983 right up to her death, and was justifiably proud of her three sons who followed their father into the world of pigeons racing. This then is the length of my links to the WOODROFFE BROTHERS, with whom I spend a fair amount of my leisure time, but do very little work due to my COPD, however I am a good talker and listener so we get along fine.

 

A NEW BEGINNING

The year 1970 saw the brothers establish their new identity, and began racing as WOODROFFE BROTHERS with success coming early, as they started their quest, which was to top THE MIGHTY UP NORTH COMBINE.

 

 

2

The verve of youth saw them search out quality pigeons, then work their socks off conditioning and training this team, with all three dovetailing the team work, and young Dave who was still at school galloping around during his lunch break doing the important things Albert and Fred couldn’t do because of their work. Today that team work is still very much in evidence, as Davy is always first to the loft at about 5-30am, turns the hens out for their 40 to 60 minute fly depending on circumstances, and cleans them out while they fly and traps them to a little seed, then lets them settle down. Next he cleans the stock loft out then takes the Ybs off the darkness, feeds them about a quarter ounce of depurative per bird, then off he goes to work for an 8am start.

However that is only half of his input, as he is back by 4-50pm to clean the stock loft again, darkens the YBs down for the night then traps any pigeons in from training tosses, plus any other jobs he see’s which need attention, and that is Davy Woodroffes normal daily input into this loft, not a bad shift Son. JC.

 

Albert the eldest brother arrives a while after Dave has left, then turns the cocks out for their morning spin, with the duration again varied to suit the circumstances at any one time, and he cleans their section out change the water and gives them a light feed.He uses four compartments for the cocks, and two for hens flying the round about system, with the hens on vee sitters where he watches for any signs of lesbian activity, and swiftly removes any active hen to the aviary to cool off. He uses a light mix at the beginning of the week, either Gerry plus or super winner, while in the evening they get a full W/H mix selected from the best available each year. The hens are shown for various lengths of time, prior to basketing, depending on the race being prepared for, while the afternoon exercise is varied and training tosses are sometimes used instead of exercise around the loft, and this is timed to coincide with Davids return from work, but everyone including me insists that Albert cuts the grass.

 

Fred is the middle brother and he arrives at 12-30 pm each day, as he works split shifts as head caretaker of a large local education academy, on the other side of the city. He takes the YBs straight from the nest, settles them into their own loft where they are vaccinated for Para immediately, then wormed, treated for both canker and cocci and gradually settled.

 

 

 

3

Once his babies are flying strongly they have to fly for at least one hour, as some young cocks want to be down chasing the hens, so they are flagged if need be, then a couple of weeks before racing starts they are trapped quickly, to learn this habit when training starts. This begins with a series of short flights from 2,5,10, & 20 miles prior to racing commencing, with Albert doing the driving and Fred trapping them in at home, in fact Albert does 90% of the training. Fred cleans and feeds his YBs from day one, treating the feed with either Flaxseed oil,Garlic oil, or Sunflower oil, which allows either Provit in powder form or Oregano to be applied then fed. The bath is given once a week, but the youngsters have to be watched due to the danger of RAPTOR attacks, which are always at the back of peoples minds now, and sometimes it is better to let them bathe in the aviary if you are worried, by the frequency of the visits of these harbingers of death. Now that brief outline gives you some idea of the disciplined approach of these three men to pigeon racing, and it is this discipline and methodical attitude that is the real basis of their success.

 

A TSUNAMI.

It was on Sunday the 12th of May 2013 that the north east of England produced another PIGEON TSUNAMI, when Chief Convoyer Steve Profitt released 16,894 UNC pigeons, who were joined by a further 6,878 from the WDA,NNA,& DC, in an instantaneous liberation from Eastbourne. The time was 06-15am, the wind northwest, with the combine members flying between 270 to 360 miles, and a good race was expected. What we actually got was a WORLD CLASS RACE in my humble opinion, judging by the performances put up by the fanciers of the North East, but let me explain my views. The UNC saw 200 pigeons timed with a drop in velocity of 36.03 ypm, or roughly 8 or 9 minutes to get on the official result, and that result only covers 1.18% of the total birdage for the combine, a staggering tiny percentage. It gets even harder with the NEHU OPEN when only 100 out of a total birdage of 23,772 pigeons figure in the open, which equates to a mere 0.42% or much less than half of one percent, think about it. The other statistics which hit me is that the UNC result was over in a drop of only 36.03 ypm, or 8 or 9 minutes to see your name in lights, while the NEHU OPEN RESULT saw 100 pigeons recorded in only 27 ypm drop in velocity or about 6 minutes.

 

 

4

Now that is the size of the competition in the north east, and as the late Frank TASKER said to me, when he was up at our prize distribution, “ It is bloody hard to win up here”, but to me it shows the sheer quality of our fanciers in general, to produce the level of fitness in their pigeons, to create that DYNAMIC result.

Now I am not going to bore the pants off you, but I always analyse each race result and what I get from this race is, great multiple groups of pigeons contesting the same yard of velocity. There were 10 pigeons on 1449, 10 on 1447, 9 on 1438, 11 on 1437, a massive 19 on 1435, and 15 on 1433, I lie not IT WAS A TSUNAMI, with pigeons cascading in , all over the combine. BRILLIANT.

 

What Did It Take to Win.

Now I am not going to beat about the bush, I saw this winner come racing flat out and trapping like a bullet, to win by 1.19 ypm, flying just under 298 miles, with a flyin g time of 5-57-9 to be followed by two loftmates at 5-58-27 and 5-58-32, and they claimed 6th and 7th Combine. At 5-59-37 they timed again for 19th combine, then at 6-1-36 for 43rd, followed by another at 6-1-41 for 46th, then 6-4-12 to claim 99th, at 6-5-50 they take 178th UNC for a good days work, with the elusive 1st UNC for good measure..

Not only did they win the combine they also won the NEHU OPEN the NECC,THE TWCC, & NETBC, for good measure, so all in all A DAY TO REMEMBER.

This Brilliant Combine Win takes their outright wins to [FOUR], yes 4 to equal the most wins by any loft, the sting in the tale is that the other lofts to achieve this are all down in East Cleveland, and Peter Bennett has produced a super montage of these four magnificent pigeons, to go with this article.

Champion Meg.

This beautiful little Blue Hen has won six great federation turns, including a 1st,2nd,3rd plus a 2nd Section 4 with 5,613 birds ,and a 1st section 4, to go with her 1st UNC and 1st Open NEHU, where she beat 23,772 competitors from the whole of the north east. She fully deserves the title “MEG” as she is named after my late BEAUTIFUL wife who shared my life for 55 years, and the LADS and Alfie Hawthorn her breeder know what this means to me. She is a lovely type in the hand with everything right, plus a cracking eye with a brilliant dilute from 5 to 9 oclock, in a great yellow based eye, but her breeding is superb so lets have a look.

Sire is GOLDEN EYE who is from YOUNG FEMKE and his brother won 1st National against 21,000 birds. The dam of Golden Eye is DEB and she was Best YB in the Fed in 2005, then stock and dam of at least six individual fed winners, plus a flood of winning

5.grand children etc. DEB carries Woodroffe bloodlines in both her sire and dam ,with lines tracing back to the original base via THE TELE COCK, and his nestmate APACHE 1st UNC Folkstone 284 miles, with 26,576 birds competing, in 1983. Alfie Hawthorn

Went direct to Piet van de Merwe for Young Femke, and due to the class he produced with DEB he decided to go back again, which resulted in the purchase of a lovely Blue Pied hen from Piet’s number one stock pair, who is a full sister to QUEENIE a winner of 1st from 24,000, and she is the dam of CHAMPION MEG. This No 1 stock pair are a little bit special, the cock “Jort” has a 1st from 11,229, a 16th from 10,927, etc, while the hen “LAURA” has won

2nd from 22,571, 3rd from 38,401, and 5th from 30,357 birds, need I say anymore. [CLASS WILL TELL].

Over the years there has been a multitude of Federation Winners as the montage from 1984 proves, however the dam of GOLDEN EYE is from a G/Daughter of Woodroffe Bros old Dark Hen, and she was from a son of TELE SAVALAS, nestmate to APACHE and they were both from Kissabella, who was from a half brother to halfsister mating from GEORGE BUSSCHEARTS great cock CHAMPION RAPIDO. That is the quality of the cross into Piet van de Merwe’s line of pigeons, all top quality material and the Lads No1 stock Cock at this time is POPEYE and he is from a full brother to the OLD DARK HEN, known as BUSTER and he in turn is the catalyst in the line which came down through MISS ALI, via his brother BLUE BUSTER and they produced BIG NOSE who sired some superb pigeons with IRIS 1st UNC Maidstone with 17,379 birds competing, including a massive Stock Hen for Martin Ali as well as the Lads and other fanciers.

The loft Mates.

Apart from ‘Champion Meg’ the 2013 season has thrown up another in the shape of a cracking Dark Chequer Hen, whom I shall call “Champion Ellen”, as she has made the three Eastbourne races, her speciality as follows. First race she flew 3rd Club, 4th Fed, 6th Section 4, 7th UNC, 7th Open NEHU 23,772 birds competing, winning 1st Fed 2 b ird club, 1st NE 2bird club, 1st NECC, 1stTWCC, for a start, beaten by two loftmates. At Eastbourne II she came again for 4th Club, 4th Fed, 3rd TWCC, and 6th NECC, and 50th UNC from 11,572 birds. Plus she won 4th Club, 4th Fed Rivenhall, and 7th Club, 9th Fed Melton Mowbray in warm up races . Finally she went on to Eastbourne III, and came up again to win 1st Club, 1st Fed, 1st Section 4, 5th UNC, 7,312 birds competing, and again winning 1st TWCC, and 1st NECC. Now that is some hen with a 7th from 23,772, then 50th from 11,572, and finally 5th from 7,312 birds and all at just under 300 miles, plus a pile of Championship Clubs, A SUPER STAR.

 

 

 

 

6

She is no fluke either being bred in the purple, as her sire is direct from BRAVEHEART 1st UNC Andrezel, 3,849 birds , flying 473 miles and mated to a special hen via Sheldon Leonard. Her dam is a direct off Stans Pride, winner of 1st WDA Billericay Yearling Classic 1,166 birds, 3rd WDA Arras 4,215 birds, 5th WDA Billericay 5,737 birds, and 9th WDA Arras 3,752 birds, when he was mated to a daughter of Colin Chapmans BRILLANT stock hen RACHEL, dam of TWO BIRDS OF THE YEAR in two consecutive seasons, in THE ENTIRE UP NORTH COMBINE. These two brilliant hens are backed up by several other class loftmates, such as the Cuester hen “Michele”who has won, 2nd Club, 3rd Fed, 6th UNC, and 6th Open NEHU 23,772 birds, then 8th Fed Melton Mowbray followed by joint 1st Fed,2nd TWCC,5th NECC, 6th Section 4, and 28th UNC 11,572 birds from the second Eastbourne Race. The loft recorded seven pigeons in the open result at, 27th,28th,50th,79th,80th,103rd,138th, plus 5th and 6th North of England Championship Club, and this race was over in 42.5 ypm drop in velocity. There are three siblings who have flown well, the first cock has won 1st Club, 1st Fed Bubwith, and 1st Club, 1st Fed Peterborough, his brother has won 4th Club, 4th Fed Bubwith beaten by two loftmates, and 1st Club, 1st Fed, 1st 2bird Club Melton Mowbray. Not to be outdone their little sister has flown 3rd Club,3rd Fed Rivenhall, 8th Club, 10th Fed Melton Mowbray, then Joint 1st Club, 1st Fed, 5th Section 4, 27th Open UNC Eastbourne II 11,572 birds, THREELITTLE BEAUTIES.

A TOAST TO THE LADIES.

The season of 2013 and the South Coast town of Eastbourne will forever be associated with THREE BRILLIANT LITTLE HENS, who have flown their hearts out for us, the thrills and pleasure they have created is enormous, and makes all the striving and planning well worthwhile, they have been wonderful, we are just grateful to have witnessed their brilliance.

Well now I think I have given you enough, but FOUR OUTRIGHT UP NORTH COMBINE WINS over exactly THIRTY YEARS, is certainly something to CELEBRATE so come October that is what we will do. However I cannot finish without thinking of our friends, who visit and support us, such as the NEE LADS Peter and Malcolm, Billy Goddard, Graham Jones, the brilliant Martin Ali for 35 years a true friend. Mr 2nd Combine Colin Chapman the double Bird of The Year Winner, Alfie Hawthorn another cracking Lad 7..who I owe my personal THANKS, then there is Micky Hays and Mark two smashing Men, then the Lads cousin Mick Summers who is always there when needed, not forgetting the irrepressible Barry Watson, and last but not least Alberts personal .decorator Stu Wormleighton, a rising STAR if ever I saw one. Now if I have missed anyone I apologize, but my old memory isn’t what it used to be.

To everyone who has contacted the Lads and me, THANK YOU. Jack Curtis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End Of An Era Sale

Berlingo Lofts are having a complete dispersal sale on the 08-11-2013 For all details contact Sean Wolohan Contact details07866621198

More Articles...

Page 1 of 5