THE COOPER'S GARDEN PARTY|
TO CELEBRATE THE GREAT PAU
INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE OF UK FANCIERS.
On a lovely summer's day in mid
August the "great and the good" of the British pigeon racing fraternity
made their way from all over England and Wales to the small Somerset
village of Peasedown St John and the home of Geoff and Catherine
Cooper. This gathering was a gesture to celebrate the outstanding
performance of UK fanciers and BICC members in particular, in the Pau
International race flown on Friday 14th June 2013 when BICC members
took the FIRST FOUR Open positions in the INTERNATIONAL against a field
of 8,576 hand picked pigeons from the best lofts in Europe.
Perhaps the following passage, taken
from my report on the race ,will give readers a reminder of the events
surrounding the race itself.
"The first International race of the
season for members of the BICC took place from Pau in the foothills of
the Pyrennes on schedule on Friday 14th June. The BICC entry was 313
pigeons entered by 92 to compete against each other for the first UK
pigeon home in this prestigious race and 8,527 other pigeons entered by
the best fanciers throughout mainland Europe. The weather forecasts
throughout the week, predicted good weather at the race point in south
west France with a light north easterly breeze cooling the birds as
they raced north along the length of the country. As it transpired, the
wind in south west France at time of liberation i.e. 5.45 am[BST] was
reported as light northerly changing to east north east around the
Bordeaux area and south, south east at Angers with a southerly breeze
helping the birds on once they reached the French coast. The BBC
shipping forecast gave south westerly force 4/5 in the channel early in
the day turning to southerly force 5/6 later on. The race was on and
with the hope that the British contingent would have a better than
evens chance of success given the easterly influence in the wind
direction in the early part of the race.
The race turned out to be an absolute
triumph for the small British contingent as not only was the overall
International winner clocked in the UK but British pigeons took the
following positions in the Open result:-
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th,16th,
24th,34th,63rd & 68th. A truly remarkable set of performances put
up by the seven fanciers concerned. Congratulations to you one and all
- you have made the British fancy extremely proud. The seven British
fanciers who enjoyed great success that day were:-
Geoff & Catherine Cooper.
Mr & Mrs Terry Gardner.
So much for the race, let's get back
to the celebratory gathering at the Cooper's home, that took place some
two months after the race itself was flown. Those present amounted to
63 fanciers along with family and friends. The weather on the day was
marvellous, in great contrast to the previous day when high winds and
heavy rain prevailed.
Present on the Sunday, were several
local fanciers and their wives, some of whom help with the BICC
marking for example, Terry Preddy and Tony Barressi. A few
had travelled from continental Europe to be present including Henk
DeWeerd and Thomas Gyselbrecht plus Pieter Oberholster, David
Coward Talbot and Holly from the DeWeerd veterinary clinic in
Colchester. Gordon Clark and Lee Percival, travelled all the way down
from Hartlepool in the North East to join the celebrations.
It was good to see the BICC treasurer
Russell Bradford and his wife Clare in attendance and Russell said a
few words on behalf of the BICC, congratulating Geoff and Catherine,
along with Darran McFadden and Mark Gilbert on their Pau International
performances. John Clements, a long time supporter of
International racing made the journey down from Stockport. Carol
Francis the BICC secretary was also there. Albi Deacon, John
Tyerman and Mike Bunney sent their apologies as they were unable
to attend the party As did yours truly who was unable to get a lift
over to the West Country. However, two men of Gwent, namely Henry
Preece and Mark Sparey from Abertillery flew the flag for the
Welsh fanciers, several of whom could not attend due to racing being
held over from Saturday.
Bill Harris and his wife Julie were
there. Bill an ex President of the NFC, was instrumental in getting the
NFC to race the Dax International in 2003 which was won by local legend
Brian Sheppard and his pigeon aptly named "The Legend".
BICC photographer Chris Sutton and
his wife Denise were travelled down from their home in Leicestershire
to attend the party. Chris presented Geoff and Catherine with a
superb framed photo of their two International winners, Farmer George
(1st Bordeaux International 2011) and Wollongong (1st Open Pau
Ian Crammond and Nigel Langstaff
enjoyed chatting with Roger Lowe ,Pete Wilcox, Mark Gilbert and Henk
A long time friend of Geoff and
Catherine's, namely John Wright from Hull was there, catching up with
Alen Gibb the Secretary of the
West of England Combine , along with his better half Val were there
with Stan Dangerfield, both hard workers for the sport, and Roger
Phillips flew in from Guernsey. Roger keeps many fanciers up to date
with weather forecasts from Guernsey.
Tony Miesnner and his wife Karly were
present with Karly only having three weeks to go before her baby was
due. However, after the excitement of the party, the following
Saturday in fact, Lily May Miessner was born.
It was good to see everyone enjoying
the food and drink in the sunshine, Geoff and Catherine's daughter
Stacey and her husband Gary did an excellent job running the bar and
their sons Daryl and Chris were at hand to do the cooking. A real
family effort by the Cooper clan.
The party proved to be a terrific
success and an opportunity for friends and fanciers from far and wide
to get together and enjoy a special moment in the history of British
pigeon racing - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th International Pau.
Unfortunately, Colin Draper who was 4th Int. Pau and others who
were in the BICC top ten were invited but couldn't make it.
I'm sure all present and also those
who were unable to make it "on the day" so to speak, would like to
thank Geoff and Catherine for organising such a pleasant function to
honour those seven fanciers who tasted success at the highest level
possible in the sport on that great day in June.
Geoff & Catherine-Cooper
1st 2nd 3rd Pau Int
Graham Clift & John Staddon
Local fanciers and Stacey Catherine Cooper's daughter
L-R Eileen & Peter Wilcox Ian Crammond Stuart Sheffield Bill & Julie Harris
Mark Dorrington & Stan Dangerfield at the Pau International Garden Party
R to L Jean Brooks daughter of the late Trosky Brooks Sally Ann Brooks wife of Rob Brooks and daughter Emily Brooks
Some happy revellers at the Pau International winners Garden Party Hosted by Geoff and Catherine Cooper
Stan Dangerfield & Henry Preece