by Drew Callan, Press Officer

National Notes - March 7th 2013

Good morning folks. After 10 days of dry, bright cool days it was a bit of a downer to look out the window to rain and mist... mind you to be honest I have woken up to worse!!! I was hoping to start getting the racers out more regularly but the forecast is wet and dull until Sunday then north-east winds and snow early next week so they will be confined to barracks for the next week or so.

Last weekend I was in Belgium and Holland and noticed quite a few kits going over where the sprint boys were clearly taking advantage of the weather to knock a few cobwebs off the cocks before Quiverain and Noyon start in a couple of weeks. I have always thought this was very early but then I read in the BHW that the North-East boys kick off with a trainer on the last weekend in March. Good luck to you boys but take care you don’t knock the edges off them too early.

We are now putting the finishing touches to the handbook before going to the printers at the start of April. We are hoping to have it in the post to members by the end of the month but please don’t panic about it as you will have it in plenty of time. I know that last year I had a few members ring up in a bit of a flap because they hadn’t received their handbook by the first weekend of domestic racing. All members who have paid their fees by the time of the book being ready will have one posted to them, but if you are not one of the 2425 fully paid up members could you please get subs in before the 1st of April to get your handbook in time. To be honest if everyone is paid up it makes life easier for Sid as all the handbooks can be sent from source automatically in one go rather than having to chase up single random handbooks from late payers.

Members have so far ordered almost 96,000 rings from the national. I just wonder how many will be in the young bird national in September? As a point of interest members have also bought 2425 of the special A gold rings so there will be a nice pot of prize money to compete for from the Young Bird national. Good luck to all who have put their faith in their own selection abilities and let's hope you get a bit of luck on your side on the day. Can I take this opportunity again to remind fanciers of the rule change which means only NFC issued rings can be entered in the young bird national this year so if you fancy a go then get in contact with Sid quickly as I know the rings and gold rings are going fast and he is selling them on a daily basis.

Some members will be aware that we launched the bare bones of our new website last season and the intention has always been to develop this during the closed season and have an all singing all dancing version ready for this new season. Sid has been working with IT people to make this happen and we are almost there and we are looking to get it online and fully functioning in the next few weeks. We want to use the website as a platform for members to keep up to date with club developments and news as well as to get in touch with officials and committee members when needed. Personally I would like to see it evolve to the point where members can put their own virtual loft visits and write-ups on there and to develop the social media side of it by building on the discussion forum facilities the current website has. The committee would like to thank you for your patience as we get the website set up and I appreciate that people have been looking to have it earlier but we need to know it is up to the demands, needs and expectations of the membership.

I mentioned in a previous article about looking at section changes for the future and I asked members to have a think about what changes they think might benefit the National long term by improving birdage and competition. When I wrote about it I didn’t expect to have several lengthy conversations about the topic at the Dutch Spring fair in Houten.  As it happens there were quite a few National members and committee members there so it seemed like as good a place as any. What came out of the conversations was basically that there was no need identified for wide scale restructuring, more a case of a few tweaks to identified areas and this mirrored the conversations I have had with some of the committee members. All of the suggestions that were put forward from the chat in Houten included splitting Section E along the 0 meridian to the Thames to encourage a bigger member participation from the top corner of the section. The fanciers who talked to me about this pointed out that the national send from that area did not reflect the potential birdage as many fanciers felt that they had no chance of having a fair run at section positions for 90% of races so opted with their feet and competed in alternative classic channel races with other organisations. Another suggestion was to pull down the southern boundary of section M to around Whitby and that would help bolster the chances of fanciers up at the top reaches of the National such as the members of The Toft Hill Sportsman club. It's good to be getting this input and feedback from members as when the sub committee meets soon we have a starting point for our discussions. If you want your thoughts to be put on the table then get in touch with me.

One final thing from me… thank you to the people who got in touch about the Marley Westrop article. I have taken on board the other names suggested and am slowly working my way through them. If you have anything you want to have included in the column then as usual I am on 01926 817796 or email:


Drew Callan,

PO National Flying Club.