Lifelong fanciers Tom and Ron Brown have achieved their biggest success in the sport of pigeon racing.
The brothers, aged 84 and 82, the elder members of a well-known Tickhill family, entered their prized two-year-old chequer hen pigeon for the first time this year in the prestigious Bordeaux National race from France, organised by Midlands National Flying Club.
And much to their delight the bird winged its way safely back to its loft having finished in first place in the Northern section of the competition.
Tom, who worked underground at Harworth Colliery for 40 years, was thrilled with the success in the race entered by more than 1,500 birds from across the North of England.
He said: “It is a distance of 590 miles back to Tickhill and of course the birds have to fly across the English Channel. We entered six of our 40 pigeons into the event.
“It took our winning bird a total of 18 hours 25 minutes and 29 seconds to get back home. I
“t was the first time that she has been out at night. We were both delighted when we clocked her in and that she had come back so quickly. It is certainly the biggest competition that we have won.”
Ron, also a Harworth miner for 40 years, said: “We have the victor’s sire and dam as she was born and bred here in our loft.
“Despite having flown into a strong headwind all of the way the bird looked perfectly fresh when she came back. It was like she had just been flying around the street.
“There are many hazards that can befall a pigeon during its flight including birds of prey. There seems to have been a big increase in the number of hawks over the past few years.”
The brothers’ interest in pigeons began when they were lads as their dad Thomas and mum May kept pigeons.
During the Second World War the family’s 30 birds were requisitioned for the war effort. “The birds that were recruited were to be used by the military for carrying messages.
“After the war they offered to supply mum and dad with some more birds but they did not take them up on the offer,” said Tom.
The brothers are now looking forward to receiving the trophy at the awards night to be held at Earl of Doncaster Hotel in December.