Ginger McCain, who will be the chief guest at the NFC's Transporter Open Day at Drayton Manor Theme Park on Sunday May 7th.

The National Flying Club Committee met at Alveley in Shropshire on Wednesday April 19th, primarily to discuss the race programme and the progress of the new transporters. Apologies for absence were received from Mick McGrevy (K), Geoff Cooper and Stan Dangerfield (G).

There was a lengthy discussion regarding the race programme announced in February with the respective section reps reporting on the feedback they had had from their fellow section members. The general consensus was that the prospect of north road racing had met with a lukewarm response. Ken Hanby, however, reported that Section K members were looking forward to the challenge, though he conceded that it would not suit the ‘Devon Sprinters’. Paul Naum (Section D) said he was not going to rise to that one! Trevor Harris (H) said he had received a number of phone calls in support of a Scottish programme and as the committee had made a decision they should stick to it. John Tyerman (A) pushed for the club to stay north, saying he knew plenty of people from his area who would support it. On the other hand, Brian Long (H) said he was worried the club would not get good birdage if it went north. John Wills (E) said support for NR racing in his area was ‘some and some’ and John Edwards (E) said there was apathy, agreeing with Brian Long that the Club wouldn’t fill its transporters. Roger Sutton (L) said that the majority of fanciers he had spoken to in Lancashire, Cheshire and North Staffs were not interested in north road racing because of the perceived dog-leg around the Pennines. With an eye fixed firmly on the income from races, it was proposed by Paul Naum and seconded by Nobby Henley to rescind the programme passed on 22nd February. There were 11 votes to rescind, and 2 against.

It was then proposed by Richard King and seconded by Brian Stansfield that the first race be Sennen Cove on June 10th and the second race be from Sennen Cove on June 24th, then to look to race from Ireland. No vote was taken on this proposal.

It was proposed by Brian Long and seconded by Nobby Henley to fly from Sennen Cove for the first two races, the dates being June 10th June and June 24th. The rest of the race programme to be decided by a sub committee consisting of the President Fred Sharman, the Chairman Roy Stretton, Race Advisor Brian Long, the Honorary Treasurer Paul Naum and Life Vice President Ken Hanby. It was pointed out that should racing be allowed from France then the NFC will revert back to France without delay. This was carried.

The reasons for pushing the race progamme back so that it will commence on June 10th were twofold: The first of the two new transporters will be ready for the Open Day on May 7th but the second is only guaranteed to be ready in time for the originally scheduled 2nd race on June 3rd. The committee felt that it would be safer to add another week on to that just in case of any unforeseen hitches. Secondly, there is still some optimism that France will open up, therefore pushing the date back to June 10th gives the NFC a semblance of a chance of implementing a conventional programme.

On the issue of the Transporter Open Day, Eddie Froggatt confirmed that four-time Grand National-winning racehorse trainer Ginger McCain will be the chief guest.

Brian Stansfield with Ginger, at Ginger's Cheshire stables last Sunday.

John Edwards presented each member of the convoying team with a hold-all containing a uniform to be worn when on NFC duty. Each bag contains 2 pairs of trousers, two short-sleeved shirts, a long-sleeved shirt, a belt, a cap, a fleece and a reflector. John had provided these out of his own pocket and was given a vote of thanks.

Ken Hanby expressed reservations regarding the bird welfare document which the NFC had commissioned, on the grounds that it was only one Vet’s opinion, but Richard King and John Edwards said they believed the NFC had acted correctly. Moreover, Roy Stretton said he did would not have been happy to act as Chairman of an organisation which could be seen as having acted irresponsibly, particularly with Her Majesty as its patron. Brian Long said he thought it was a great idea for the National to have taken a position on the issue of bird welfare as it would demonstrate to any would-be detractors that it had implemented bird welfare measures voluntarily.

Under correspondence, it was agreed to accept an offer of race sponsorship from Paul O’Leary of PBO Solutions, the offer being two laptops plus software to be awarded to the fanciers recording the first cock and hen in the Grand National.

There was a letter from the finance company regarding the second transporter, expressing concern over the effect Avian Influenza would have on birdage and hence income. It was proposed by Nobby Henley and seconded by Paul Naum that the NFC act as guarantors of the second transporter and this was passed unanimously.

Before the meeting closed, Sid Barkel confirmed that the Club had gained 57 new members since its previous meeting in February.

A word of thanks must go once again to Ray Scriven, Section J representative, for allowing the NFC to utilize the Alveley Sports & Social Club premises and for providing the refreshments, which saves the club a significant amount of money.

Cameron Stansfield

Elimar Pigeon Services