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Young Fanciers - Youth Exchange Nov 2005...
Author: Richard SandersonTitle: Young Fanciers - Youth Exchange Nov 2005
Date: 2006-05-04 19:26:12Uploaded by: webmaster

I’ve been asking myself how to start this off for days now; suppose I should just jump into it . Why am I here occupying space in your homing world? Well it all started many moons ago in a far away land… well no, erm, the guv’ – Peter Bryant – asked me to contribute an article or two for young fanciers.

So introductions out of the way first; I’m Richard Sanderson, 19 years old from Hartlepool. I’ve been racing since the youngbird season of 2001, and have had pigeons for around 9 years in total now. I race in the Owton Manor Club, in the Hartlepool Federation, Section 6 of the Up North Combine – don’t check for my name in the results, not that good you know! Last year I started University up in St. Andrews, Fife, and fully intended in getting out of the pigeons for the duration, even cleared my lofts; well it took all of a couple of months before the lofts came back into use. Met some awesome fanciers at my term time home and couldn’t envisage being parted from the birds for 4 years, 4 missed seasons! In my spare time I run the website www.Pigeonbasics.com, hopefully benefiting a couple of people out there in cyberspace!

A couple of years now I’ve been involved with the young fanciers events, I went to the international youth exchange in Holland in 2003, which was a brilliant experience. We hosted the exchange at the Blackpool show in 2004, which was a massive success, and just the other week I got back from the 2005 Belgian exchange.

Things had calmed down a bit by Sunday on the main stage.
Things had calmed down a bit by Sunday on the main stage.
The Belgian Youth Exchange November 2005
Departing home at 5am wasn’t so nice, its just not natural for a student to arise at that time of the morning, mind you, any time of the morning is bad enough! Arriving in Brussels at 1pm their time, I met Ruben – President of the West European Youth Committee - and we drove the rest of the way to the Media Centre in Ostend.

Preparations for the show were well under way, and it was all hands on deck while the rest of the youth exchange contingent arrived throughout the afternoon. There were participants from Belgium, Germany, Holland and myself from the UK; unfortunately the French were not able to make it. It was good to see friends again, and a number of new faces. We made a fleeting visit to the youth hostel, our home for the weekend, dropped our stuff off, quick freshen up and back to the show. Their things had really got going, there was a cabaret act on stage, and the hall was packed with fanciers making a good night of it.

The contingent visiting the lofts of André Vermote.
The contingent visiting the lofts of André Vermote.
We were whisked off into the adjacent hall where they had everything set out beautifully for a dinner. There must have been about 1,000 people sat around tables eagerly anticipating a slap up meal. And disappointed they wont have been! Although where they got the food I can only imagine; there was a small screen at the back of the hall, with waiters and waitresses tooing and froeing, all I can imagine is that that it was a tardis behind there!

Loft Visits
The next morning we were woken early for breakfast and onto visiting some lofts local to Ostend.

Part of Marc Pollin’s impressive loft setup.
Part of Marc Pollin’s impressive loft setup.
The first loft we visited was the loft of André Vermote. A very successful fancier from Ostend. In 1971 he won his first national from Cahors, and since then has won 5 more! A very professional setup with a double decker L shaped loft, and then another petron style loft of about 40 feet in length.

A short drive then brought us to the loft of Marc Pollin at Snellegem. Marc is also a very successful Belgian fancier, winning 1st National Limoges 2003, and judging by the amount of trophies in his office – come – pigeon hideout, extremely successful everywhere else too! We walked through two of the racing lofts, where the cocks were housed, not having paired up yet. The hens are housed in aviaries well out of the way of the rest of the lofts, having 3 sides open to the elements, and perching on box perches fixed to the back wall.
Individual Breeding pens at the loft of Marc Pollin.
Individual Breeding pens at the loft of Marc Pollin.

In the stock loft our attention was drawn to the separate breeding boxes in which he keeps his best stock pairs. In this way he can guarantee the parentage of all of the youngsters bred.

By this time we were all ready for something to eat; which we had at the very impressive Duivenmaatschappij van Gistel, which, we were told, is where the UK’s Dax international race birds are brought to join the international consignment for the last leg of the journey to the racepoint.

The place is like nothing I’ve ever seen in this country, there is a large hall for basketing the birds, offices for holding the clocks and for the race secretaries, and also a large bar – all for the pigeon club!
Race HQ: Duivenmaatschappij van Gistel
Race HQ: Duivenmaatschappij van Gistel

One thing that surprised me was with the Belgian race crates; while they look very good for ventilation and for disinfecting after use; the opening flap was manually operated, and only opened half the length of the basket. I took a photo for you to see, the door is fully open in it (see photo).

Well that sums up most of the weekend; we enjoyed the show Saturday and went to the Gala Evening on the night. And travelled home Sunday morning. The flight was interesting, as I suppose it always is when they tell you upon landing not to get out of your seats because the lights may fail, oh lovely but there’s more! It was because the engine running the electricity supply hadn’t been working for the duration of the flight! Glad they didn’t tell us before takeoff!
Belgian plastic race crates (flap fully open).
Belgian plastic race crates (flap fully open).

We are always looking for people to participate on the Youth Exchanges, the next one is expected to be held in Holland at their annual show in November – there are usually 5 or 6 places available so if your interested in getting involved drop me an email.

That’s all for now!
Richard Sanderson, current abode: St. Andrews; email: mealybar@pigeonbasics.com ; web: www.pigeonbasics.com

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