On the stormy and very wet weekend of 26th January the committee and members of the BICC convened at the club's H.Q. The Lion Brewery at Ash. Amazingly, given the weather conditions, there was almost a full turn out of committee members and the pre AGM committee meeting started on time at 10.30 am. This report is not meant to be a verbatim account of the business carried out, but I will of course give details of the important points raised so that the members are kept up to speed on what is being done on their behalf. One of the items on the agenda that will probably be of most interest to the membership, is the fact that, due to the very healthy financial position that the club finds itself in, it was decided to increase the prize monies for all the sections and Open prize winners for all races in 2014.

I'll let treasurer and "financial guru" Russell Bradford explain the economics of the situation:-

"For the sake of clarity I thought it might help if I just outlined 2014 prize money.

Last year (2013) we paid out £4,500 via Open and Section money with four major sections on the Mainland and Ireland as a stand-alone section. Unfortunately no birds were timed in Ireland so obviously no further money was paid out.

This year (2014) the open money will be ~ 1st, = £100; 2nd, = £60; & 3rd, = £40. X 16 races = £3,200.

The section money I've detailed for the six new sections and will add Ireland separately: - so….. 1st, = £50; 2nd, = £25 & 3rd, = £10 X 16 races = £8,160

If an Irish bird was to be timed in all 16 races this section money would increase by a further £1,360.

£3,200 + £8,160 = £11,280 which is and increase of £6,780 on last year, or a 150% increase overall. Part of this increase is because of one extra race, and a further part because of the increase in the number of sections."

Russell also suggested that the club place £50,000 in an investment account and this was agreed to unanimously. So there you have it. The club is thriving and the committee voted unanimously to give something substantial back to the membership in the form of increased prize money, as a reward for their loyal support.

Next item discussed was the Certificate of Merit Award, a point raised by a letter from club members Geoff and Clayton Preece of Dover. After a long debate on the matter it was decided that Geoff should submit a N.O.M to the next AGM so that the membership as a whole can vote on the proposition. In the mean time the Certificate of Merit will be decided under the present criteria of a pigeon attaining a top 15 Open position in a total of three BICC International races.

Race security and wing marking was then discussed and all present seemed to be satisfied with the present procedures. Also discussed was the method of race verification. To relieve the pressure on Carol taking messages off Lib Line the committee agreed to add On Line Verification to the web site for the coming season, which given the cost of verifying via Lib Line will allow members a free means of verifying if they use the web. Any device such as a Tablet or Iphone, or the normal desktop can connect to and this will be built into the web pages before too long.

A request to transport pigeons from Channel Islands fanciers for International races was then attended to and the consensus of opinion was that the club agree to this with the proviso that the fanciers in the Channel Islands transport their entries to Portsmouth where they will be collected by a BICC committee member[probably Mike Bunney] and then transferred to the nearest BICC marking station.

Present BICC rules prevent fanciers in the Channel Isles from becoming members of the BICC but they do not prevent the BICC committee from offering the hand of friendship and cooperation to fellow fanciers who wish to compete on the International stage.

Carol Francis then informed the meeting that 175 tickets had been sold for the Annual Presentation evening and that, along with other committee members and officials , she had negotiated a very attractive deal with the venue for the dinner, the Queens Hotel. This entails reduced prices for drinks and bar snacks as well as table wine .

A request had been received from the Welsh South Road National Flying Club enquiring about the possibility of transportation of the Welsh National's pigeons to compete in the Agen International. Carol was instructed to reply to the WSRNFC outlining the conditions of agreeing to this request.

The club had also received a request to participate in a race from Ypres to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War. After a long discussion it was agreed that, due to the number of races the club had already included in the 2014 race programme, that we regretfully decline the invitation. However, it was agreed that we dedicate the Poitiers race for the purpose of commemoration. All section winners, and of course the Open race winner from Poitiers, will receive special awards for this race.

Next up was the matter of an enquiry from Steve and Lesley Wright of the House of Aarden, our most generous sponsors, regarding the possibility of the club forming a Cornish section for the 2015 season. In the letter, Steve and Lesley once again showed their great generosity and support for the BICC, in as much as they offered to purchase all trophies for the proposed section should it become a reality. It was made clear that there is already a marking station in Cornwall and that the committee was sympathetic to the request, but the number of BICC members in the Dutchy did not warrant a separate section at the present time. Carol was asked to write to Steve and Lesley outlining certain provisos for setting up a Cornish section within the BICC in future seasons.

Final item on the agenda was the matter of drug testing. This subject had been discussed at length in a previous committee meeting and it was decided that we enforce drug testing in the coming season. John Tyerman, the club's President, had done a great deal of work on the matter and had met with officers of the various other specialist clubs at Blackpool. John informed the meeting that a further meeting of officers of the Alliance of Specialist Clubs had been arranged for February and that a robust and scientifically sound protocol for collecting samples based on RPRA guidelines, would be in place by the start of the season. A number of committee members, covering a large area of the BICC's boundaries, have already volunteered to make themselves available for enforcing this procedure.


The AGM was one of the shortest on record with all officers re elected en bloc. Carol had received 93 resignations and 83 fanciers had already applied for membership for the 2014 season. Bearing in mind that there is usually a last minute rush for membership during the months of March and April then we will, in all probability, see yet another year of increased membership for 2014.

Richard Down volunteered for inclusion on the committee and this was accepted. Chris Sutton will continue his sterling work as the club's official photographer and will be present at the PD as the club's guest.

Once again we are fortunate to be able to call on the services of weather expert Steve Appleby throughout the racing season.

That was the AGM done and dusted and there then followed a short committee meeting where it was decided to look into the possibility of purchasing a trailer to ensure that we have sufficient carrying capacity for the likely increase in birdage envisaged in 2014.

One final point raised was the offer of continuing our cooperation with the BBC regarding duplication and transportation of the British contingent of pigeons for the Barcelona International race. Carol will write to the secretary of the BBC with the BICC's offer.

That's yer lot then. Another harmonious meeting excellently conducted under the chairmanship of Albi Deacon in which a large amount of business was carried out with great efficiency.

I have included with this report some photos of BICC members taken on a recent "fact finding trip" to London and darkest Essex.

Gareth Watkins

David Hales and helper- advisor Duncan Goodchild. David and Duncan were 1st Open BICC Marseille in 2013

Dickie and Steve Pearmain top class long distance fanciers and winners of 1st Open BICC Perpignan 2013

Ieuan Williams, Steve Pearmain, Charlie Simmons and Pat Mahoney at a rehydration session in the Green Man ,Harlow

Mark Bulled of Harlow, King's Cup winner and regular prizewinner with the BICC

Pat and Angela O'Sullivan of Enfield. Pat is a multiple winner of LNRC Lerwick races and now a keen south road member of the BICC