“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT. 

Ced and Clive Allwright of Ashford.

Ced and Clive Allwright have won the National Flying Club three times and I first met them when I drove down to their home in Ashford to do an article on them in the British Homing World  after their first win in 1998. The partners won the NFC Young Bird National for the first time from Pontorson (6,469 birds) in 1998 with their champion Haelterman blue pied hen, Champion ‘Starlett’. Ced is celebrating his 91st birthday in May 2020 and has been in the pigeon racing sport for over 70 years, and is still winning the club and Federation. Just before Christmas 2019 we had a visit from our good friends, Ced and Clive Allwright, who drove the 90 miles up to Claygate from their home in Ashford in Kent to pick up a spare hen I had. The father and son partners had purchased a chequer cock very similar way bred and loaned the blue pied hen to breed with him for a year. Both looked in good form on their visit to my house, but Ced tells me Clive dose all the ‘donkey’ work around the pigeon lofts these days.

Ced and Clive Allwright enjoyed another wonderful season in 2008, winning several firsts in the local club and Federation, but the highlight for the partners was recording 3rd Section E, 3rd open NFC St Malo (Old Hens) National, and coming so close to winning their fourth 1st open NFC National. Their 2008 ‘ace’ pigeon was their Jim Biss dark chequer natural hen, ‘Dark Malo’, and she had several channel races on her build up to her NFC success including BICC events and the NFC Tarbes (550 miles) race. Being a natural hen, she was paired up in March and won several other positions in her 2008 campaign including 2nd club Tours and 504th open NFC Saintes. She was bred from direct stock birds obtained from the late Jim Biss and was down from his BICC Winner ‘Larma’ bloodlines. ‘Dark Malo’ was sent to the St Malo National sitting ten day old eggs and a big youngster in the nest.

The 2007 season saw Ced and Clive finish up by winning their third National Flying Club race. This must be something of a record to win the National three times and I wouldn’t think many fanciers have achieved its equal in past years? The Allwright partners won the Guernsey Old Hen National in 2007 and to make it an extra special day also recorded 9th open Young Bird National. Their latest National winner was their champion yearling blue chequer hen, ‘Vera’, and she was bred down from the best of De Klak Janssen and Jim Biss bloodlines. The sire is one of the Allwrights best racers at that time and he was the De Klak blue chequer, ‘Rumpy Pumpy’, winner of five firsts racing. He was bred by the north road flyer, Gary Rump of Bexley Heath, and was purchased at a breeder / buyer sale for £50. Ced said it was the best £50 they ever spent, as ‘Rumpy Pumpy’ had won five firsts and bred a National winner. A really great pigeon! ‘Vera’, named after Ced’s dear late wife, had three races as a young bird including the very hard L&SECC Yelverton event and after several short races in 2007 was sent to Guernsey sitting due to hatch. Clive trained eight old hens with the young birds and picked out four for the Old Hens National, with an outstanding result. Ced and Clive’s 9th open Young Bird National winner was a game little Tasker / Haelterman blue hen named, ‘Amy’, and she was sent to Guernsey feeding a small youngster. She paired up with an old hen and hatched one of their four eggs, and Ced told me that the old hen sat at night and ‘Amy’ pushed her off the baby to sit it during the day. Ced maintains successful pigeon racing is mostly opportunist and pigeons quite often produce their own winning conditions. The partners were very proud that ‘Amy’ was the first pigeon into Kent from the Guernsey National and won ‘The Vera Allwright Memorial Cup’, which they presented after Vera’s very sad passing three years earlier. I’ve been a close friend of the Allwright family for over twenty years and when this wonderful lady passed away, it was a great blow to all of us, and I must say it is very pleasing to see the partners win her beautiful cup. ‘Amy’ was bred from the very best Haelterman bloodlines, Frank and Ann Tasker breeding her sire, and Clive said he couldn’t praise his good friend, Frank, enough as most of their success over the past ten years had come through the Tasker pigeons.

The National Flying Club ended the 2003 season with a brilliant Young Bird National from Falaise in northern France, when members entered 6,175 birds and enjoyed excellent returns. The day of the National started off dodgy with rain in northern France, but the sun soon broke through and the NFC chief convoyer, Colin Bates, cut the strings at 0835hrs and liberated into a light south-west wind. The wind was north-west in the Channel, turning to west in mainland England and favoured members on the east side of the country, especially Section E, as the final result confirmed to be correct. This National proved to be a great delight for me personally, as my good friends, Ced and Clive Allwright of Ashford, won the young bird race and recorded their second NFC win. The father and son partnership sent 15 youngsters to the National, recording their first bird, a ‘darkness’ blue chequer cock, now named ‘Falaise Supreme’, at 11.28, flying 164 miles. They topped up a brilliant day by recording the best five young birds and best old hen, by 30 minutes, in their local clock station. Ced and Clive’s old bird looked like finishing up 7th Open in the Old Hens National result, this hen being clocked approx. 18 minutes after the Young Bird National winner.

The partners won the Young Bird National for the first time from Pontorson (6,469 birds) in 1998 with their champion Haelterman blue pied hen, Champion ‘Starlett’, and both the parents where bred by Frank and Anne Tasker, from their fantastic ‘Filmstar’ bloodlines. Frank’s ‘Filmstar’ was a champion racer and breeding cock, winning many premier prizes, including 26 times 1st, 12 times 1st open Federation and was responsible for breeding countless winners. The second National winner, Champion ‘Falaise Supreme’, was a Haelterman / Allwright distance family cross with the dam of ‘Starlett’ being the grand dam of the Falaise National winner. The Allwright’s latest champion had three short club races, from Littlehampton and Fareham, on his build up to the Falaise National and was sent playing around with a young hen. Ced and Clive use the Frank Tasker ‘darkness’ system and their small 6ft x 4ft ‘darkness’ loft was a converted garden shed. The partners breed 70 young birds every season and half are put on the ‘darkness’ system and half are left natural. Ced says he would not put his whole team of young birds on the ‘darkness’ because he is not happy with their performances as yearlings. The youngsters are trained very hard from the west and north, and race through to 230 miles in their first season. They are fed on Junior Plus and are allowed to pair up if they want to. The ‘darkness’ young birds are put on the system when they are weaned. The natural youngsters are housed in a 12ft loft and all the lofts are painted out in light blue, which is very restful for the inmates. Ced and Clive keep ten pairs of stock birds and these are paired up in January because, they like a few early youngsters. The main families kept are the Frank and Anne Tasker ‘Filmstar’ family; Jim Biss, Eric and Pat Cannon and their own long distance family, which they have blended over the years. The stock loft has a nice big wire flight that the inmates can get out into the weather. When bringing in new stock they go for good winning lines, and say the only type they like is ‘the winning type’.

The day after the Falaise National in 2003, my good friend Tony Dann and I made the 65 mile drive down to Ashford, to see Ced and Clive’s latest champion and offer our congratulations in person. I must say, the Allwrights are some of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure to meet in my 50 years in the sport of pigeon racing and as always their latest National win has given my wife Betty and I much delight. Ced showed us many of his top performers including his good dark chequer cock, ‘El Ced’, which had secured the British Barcelona Club ‘Spanish Diploma’ in the 2003 season, when he completed his three times in the open result from Palamos (647 miles). This game cock was off their own long-distance family and on his build up to Palamos each year, was only raced lightly, with two inland and one Channel race before the main event and in the 2002 season the was the only bird timed in the Kent 500 Mile Specialist Club. His dam was one of the loft’s best Channel racers, winning many firsts on the long distance, and on handling this wonderful dark cock, Tony and I both agreed he was the perfect pigeon in the hand, being medium sized and long cast, with silky feathering. Ced and Clive enjoy racing every week, but their main interest was in the long distance events with the National Flying Club, British Barcelona Club, British International Championship Club and London & South East Classic Club. The Allwright loft had won many 1st Federations through the years and the 2002 season saw them win 13 firsts in the local club. Their good Eric Cannon blue white flight hen recorded 1st SE Section, 12th open London & South East Classic Club Pau in 2002 and was the only bird clocked in Kent. This game hen was bred from a direct son of Champion ‘Culmer Marion’, Eric Cannon’s NFC Sartilly Young Bird National winner. We also handled their National winner, Champion ‘Falaise Supreme’, and on inspecting him, I noticed that he had just cast his third flight and was beginning to drop his body feathers. He was medium sized and apple bodied in the hand and I thought, although he was a cross, he was very much like the Haelterman type.

As I previously stated, Ced celebrates his 91st birthday in May 2020 and has been in the sport for over 70 years, starting during the war years with the help of a friend who was a local National Pigeon Service rep. His father was an outstanding fancier in London and specialised in long distance racing, winning many premier positions in the London North Road Combine. In turn his father was a great fancier, making Clive the fourth generation of pigeon fanciers in the Allwright family and Ced has racing diplomas dating back to 1912. For many years Ced flew on the north road in partnership with his late wife, Vera, and says that she was a great worker with the pigeons. She clocked in many winners from the long distance, when Ced was at work. Clive became interested in his father’s pigeons at the age of four and has been a partner for over 40 years. Ced says, Clive is a great worker in the partnership and selects, and purchases the new stock for breeding. They race their 25 pairs on the natural system, with  Channel racing from France and Spain in mind, but like to compete in the  shorter races. They have raced the odd pigeon on the widowhood system, but say they enjoy seeing their birds in the garden. They stagger their pairing up, starting in the first section in January and work through the loft, finishing the job in mid-March. The main racing loft is 30ft long, five sections, and all trapping is in to sputniks. The whole loft set up is in a big wire compound to keep out cats: The old birds are hopper fed on winter mixture and in one of their best seasons they were fed maple peas only. They say all corn must be of premier quality. Old bird training is from the west and north, wherever Clive is working, and he likes to take them 30 or 40 miles if he can. Ced has been an all-round bird man for most of his life and for many years has had a big bird room at the top of his garden where he breeds prize Canaries and foreign Finches. On my many visits to the Allwright’s Kent home, I took great delight in looking around Ced’s bird room, when they were breeding. The partners enjoy showing their Racing Pigeons and at one time they kept one or two Show Racers, and have been very successful, winning most of the local club shows and points trophies. Ced Allwright is a great stock man and is always being asked to judge at the premier local shows.

The Allwrights are a wonderful family and deserve all the great success they have enjoyed with their pigeons. That’s it for this week! My Telephone number is: 01372 463480 and my email address is: keithmott1@virginmedia.com

TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com).