The National Flying Club committee would like to wish all members a very happy new year and you should roll up your sleeves as the vaccination is coming! At the time of writing, we are entering our third National lockdown in a year and we have all suffered in one way or another with local restrictions between those, but we now have a bright light at the end of the tunnel. The racing season in 2020 began after a very short delay and indeed National racing went ahead more or less as planned. There is no reason to think 2021 will be any different, once the lockdown has its effect on lowering the numbers, we are well set with all the procedural information to continue to enjoy our racing with the National Flying Club with the first race from Fougeres on the 22nd of May, with the full race program for the next ten years being available on the NFC website. This is done to try to ensure there is no clashing of major organisations which could result in a loss of birdage for all concerned. Our sport can continue to prosper if we can work together to provide a comprehensive program for all our members, without compromising financial viability. There is no prize waiting for anyone in a race to the bottom. 

News from the Committee is that the Presentation Evening due to be held in March for the 2020 season will have to be cancelled and rescheduled for later in the year. We had waited as long as we could in the hope that it could go ahead as planned but with the continued lockdowns and after careful consideration, it is deemed appropriate to cancel at this time. One of the most enjoyable aspects of our sport is to celebrate our National winners and we have every intention to do so, some fantastic performances were achieved in 2020 and they deserve due accolade. Some of our elderly members have already received their vaccination but with the Government targets going into mid-February for the most vulnerable, and then a further three weeks before protection is effective, it does not allow for the notice required by the venue. It does though give us hope to hold our AGM on the 10th March and indeed the Chairman has instructed our Secretary to go ahead for that date. 

With that in mind the club Treasurer has written “I am pleased to say I have now concluded the accounts in preparation for our AGM scheduled for the 10th March and although the accounts confirm we made a surplus of income over expenditure for the past season, as your treasurer I believe there are still issues we need to address which are we need to ensure that the racing income, ie birdage, covers both the cost of the race and prize money. Currently we have a lot of cross subsidy taking place, which is principally using the profits from the earlier races to subsidise the later races and I appreciate it is contentious, as many fanciers only send to the earlier races and therefore do not benefit from the cross subsidy from the latter races. I am currently working on a structure that will hopefully reduce this reliance in the future which I will bring before our committee to discuss in greater detail. The accounts once concluded will be posted out to the membership shortly along with an AGM agenda.”

Congratulations go to all the Averages winners and Merit Award winners for 2020 beginning with G Owers in Warehamfor winning the L.A. Baker Trophy for the best average in all races in Sections C, D, and G. Mark Gilbert from Winkfieldhad a great season once again in the National Flying Club and won The Oliver Dix Memorial Trophyfor the best average from Messac and Tarbes, The Jim Biss Trophy for the best average in the races Messac, Tarbes and Sigogne, Mr. & Mrs. K. Hine Trophy for the best average in the races Messac, Tarbes and Sigogne in Section E, The Langstone Gold Cup for the best average from Messac, Tarbes and Coutances YB, The Eric Cannon Memorial Cup Awarded to winner of the Langstone Gold Cup, The National Flying Club Trophy for the best average, all races, The Sun City Million Dollar Race Trophy & Free Entry Prize for the best average, all races. The Fright & Johnson Trophy for the winner of Messac, Pau or Coutances YB race with the lowest winning velocity.

Britton & Hames in Reading won The F.G. Wilson Challenge Trophy for the individual bird with the best average velocity from Messac and Tarbes. Plus The Mark Gilbert International Trophy for the fancier with the best average with the same single bird flying in all old bird races a brilliant performance Ace pigeon, well done. B P Lee from Congleton won The Lancashire Rose Trophy for the best average in the races Fougeres, Messac, Pau, & Coutances YB by a member in Section L and The W. A. Gough & Son, Section L Bird of the Year Trophy

Previous Tarbes winners Wearn Bros 1 & Neilson, from Ramsdean won The Davenport Silver Vase for the runner up to the Langstone Gold Cup, The A. & T. Deacon Trophy for the best average in the races Messac, Pau and Coutances YB in Section B. T E & J Stygall from Norwich won The Bernie & Elsie Wallman Memorial Trophy for the best average in theMessac and Pau races within the counties of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Chris Gordon in Pontefract won The Eddie Wright Memorial Trophy for the best average all races in Section K, with G Buck from Plymouth winning The Nobby Henley Memorial Trophy for the best average all Old Bird races in Section D and finally F J Quinn in Devizes won The Barry Sherman Memorial Trophy for the best average all Old Bird races in Section F. 

The coveted Merit Award Certificates were won by four fantastic performance birds owned and raced by Ronnie Doddof Liverpool, Mark Bulled in Harlow, David Bacon inTunbridge Wells and A E Shepherd from Emsworth with The Champion of Champions competition being won by J F Haynes in Maidenhead. They are rightly proud of their achievements and are unfortunately the most effected by the Covid restrictions as they will have not received their due recognition but rest assured, I will do my very best to rectify that.

On a personal note, I would like to apologise for my lack of inspiration during these last few weeks. I had hoped to have written a couple of loft reports as I did last season on the overall Average winner and The Champion of Champions but my 78-year-old Mother contracted the virus in November which brought the problem very near to home. Thankfully she pulled through, but it made the situation very real for a week or two. We need to take care of ourselves as well as each other. I hope that all members are keeping their spirts high in these difficult times and keeping busy around the loft, planning and preparing for the National Flying Club races during the summer months as the end of all the restrictions is in sight.

News and Views to me Chris Sutton on 01530 242548, 07792 356330 or email