The spring meeting of the BICC Committee took place on Saturday 29th March and due to transport problems I was unable to attend. However, BICC President John Tyerman, was kind enough to forward me brief details of the matters attended to at the meeting, so here goes:-

Due to a serious accident in the Guildford area the BICC meeting was delayed as several of the Committee were held up in traffic and indeed Eddie and Rita Good and Richard Down phoned to say they had been diverted and were now heading back home, so never made it! Those in attendance were Carol Francis, Albi Deacon, John Tyerman, Russell Bradford, Mike Armitage, Mike Mitchell, Geoff Lyden, Tom Firmager, Mark Gilbert and Bill Knox. Apologies from Mick Bunney, Gareth Watkins, Ray Strawbridge, John Wills, Geoff Cooper, Kevin Buddle, John Gladwin Ernie and Rita Goodyear.

Previous Minutes.
Minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved and there were a few matters arising.
1. A request to assist the Channel Island fanciers to compete and get their birds to the International race marking had earlier been approved and although they are not BICC members the Committee felt we should do all we can to help them. It was agreed that if they get their birds to Ash Marking a token 50p per bird would be charged as the BICC would be taking our own birds to Belgium, so a few extra birds from the CI fanciers would not create any problems.

Chairman Albi Deacon mentioned one or two members had commented that they preferred the round tables seating arrangement at the BICC Bournemouth Dinner but this year due to the large number of extra requests for tickets, seating had been arranged differently. It was felt that a maximum of around 160 tickets should be sold and this would allow the club to revert back to the more popular round table seating for the next dinner in February, 2015. Carol was thanked for her work in arranging the Dinner and Presentation evening which had been attended by some 175 guests.

2. Drugs,
John Tyerman and Albi Deacon reported that along with John Wills, Russell Bradford and Mick Bunney they had been to an Alliance of Specialist Clubs meeting at Cherwell Valley that was also attended by many representatives of all the large National and Classic Clubs. The meeting had been called to discuss the concerns over Drugs and Performance Enhancing substances. Dr Henk de Weerd had also been in attendance and was able to answer many questions from delegates. John and Albi gave a full report on this meeting to the BICC Committee and following discussions it was agreed that for this season some drug tests will be carried out on winning birds by 'authorised officials' The Committee were also made aware that Randox laboratories in Belfast would be doing drug tests in 2014 from feather samples on behalf of Irish Pigeon organisations and this may affect future testing procedures here in the UK.

3. Trailer;
With the increase in membership enquiries have been made with a large firm of trailer suppliers and the one the club requires would be a double-wheel base and costings calculated for the conversion. This would have to be racked out using light weight aluminium to take around 1,400 birds. Committee discussed this and agreed to look at this proposal later in the year. In the meantime Tom Firmager has made his small ex BICC Transporter available to the club for this season should it be needed. Tom is a licensed Convoyer so kindly said he would be prepared to go to any of the early races if his vehicle was required. The main transporters currently in use can carry around 5,400 birds.

4. Jackson Complaint.
The Committee had earlier been circulated a letter received from Mr Lee Jackson who complained about the choice of music played by the DJ at the BICC Presentation evening during the time that he (Mr Jackson) went up to receive his trophy. Mr Jackson had apparently taken 'offence' and requested a public apology. Carol had already spoken with Mr Jackson and President John Tyerman told the committee that he had already sent a letter of apology to Mr Jackson explaining that nothing derogatory or offensive had been intended by anyone. However, Mr Jackson had replied saying he would not accept the written apology sent by the President on behalf of the club. Several of the Committee commented that they recollected that Mr Jackson received considerable applause at the time of his trophy presentation. However, it was agreed that the Secretary send a further letter to Mr Jackson which will hopefully conclude this unfortunate issue.

5. Barcelona / BBC.
Carol reported that she had been in contact with Clare Norman the BBC Secretary, concerning convoying their birds to Belgium for the Barcelona international race. Albi Deacon our transport manager suggested we arrange BICC crates for our BBC Colleagues to save double-handling the birds. Arrangements were ongoing and the BBC will arrange to bring their birds to Ash for convoying to Belgium with the costs to be split between the two Clubs.

6. Membership Update and Handbooks.
Carol reported that we now have 1,370 members, with over 30 from Ireland. However, there are still 200 members who have yet to pay their 2014 subscriptions so those concerned should get their "skates on" pdq and send outstanding monies to Carol. Russell Bradford was able to show the new 2014 Handbooks to the Committee and all were impressed with the lay-out and design. Russell was thanked for his time and effort in preparation of the club handbook. The handbooks are being sent out as I write this report and should soon be on their way to the members who have already paid their subscriptions. Those members who haven't yet paid will get their handbooks as and when they have paid their subscriptions in full.

7. Financial Matters and Moot Evening:
Treasurer Russell Bradford had prepared a preliminary budget forecast report for the committee in which he outlined the likely income and expenditure for the forthcoming season. The report was both detailed and comprehensive and the Committee was grateful for the information provided. Russell felt we should perhaps be looking at ways to increase the Club income and Mark Gilbert suggested we should consider holding a Moot and Pigeon sale on the weekend of the Epsom pigeon Show In November. Committee thought this was a good idea and Tom Firmager who is one of the show organisers agreed to make enquires with the Premier Inn Hotel on Epsom Downs to see if they could accommodate the Moot evening. Mark explained that he had recently been to several of these evenings and all had generated good income from the sale and in conjunction with the show it could be a very enjoyable weekend. Mark said he could arrange several well known fanciers for a panel. Tom Firmager also suggested that fanciers wives might like to attend a London Theatre Show on the Gent's Moot evening and he is in a position to arrange this, saying a coach from the venue is only 25 minutes to the main Theatres in the West End of London. Mark, Russell and Tom agreed to make further enquiries and if possible make the necessary arrangements for a BICC Moot evening on the weekend of the Epsom show. Committee thought this would a excellent venue and hoped that firm arrangements can be made.

8. Poitiers World War 1 Commemorative Race.
Mike Armitage reported that Gloria Hunniford's husband had approached him concerning sponsoring an event for the BICC. He has offered to give 1000 euros first prize and a Silver Trophy for the event. Following discussions the Committee thanked Mike and agreed that this would be flown for from Poitiers on the 14th June 2014, which had already been allocated as the BICC WW1 Commemorative race. Fanciers can nominate as many birds as they wish @ 1 a pigeon and all proceeds will go to the charity known as the "Karon Keating Foundation" Fanciers will know that Karon Keating was the late daughter of Gloria Hunniford. Committee hope the race will be well supported and also asked Mike to thank Gloria's husband for his kind gesture in support of the Poitiers race.

The subject of the Club's Merit Award was also discussed and it appears that two pigeons have qualified for this prestigious award during the 2013 racing season. This award is achieved by any pigeon that appears three times in the top 15 positions in BICC International race results. The 2013 merit award winners are owned by David Hales of Hockley and Steve and Dickie Pearmain of Wickford. Incidentally, both these lofts were featured in two recent articles which can be found on the BICC web site.
David Hales pigeon is none other than Champion Tubby a winner of the following positions :-
2nd Sec E, 3rd Open BICC, 667th International Marseille 11244 birds 637 miles
2nd Sec E, 9th Open BICC, 110th International Pau 8576 birds 575 miles on day
7th Sec E, 7th Open BICC Pau on day
8th Sec E, 8th Open BICC Marseille.
I have included a photograph of Tubby with this report.
The other Certificate of Merit Award winner is none other than "Mary of Donegal" the 2013 BICC Perpignan winner raced by Dickie and Steve Pearmain. Mary's performances are once again phenomenal - just look at this list:-
13th open BICC Pau
26th open BICC AGEN
34th open BICC Pau [on the day]
18th open BICC St Vincent [on the day]
2nd open BICC Perpignan
21st open BICC Pau [on the day]
1st open BICC Perpignan
Congratulations David, Duncan, Steve and Dickie on your pigeons' terrific series of results. Special high quality Certificates are being prepared, which should do justice in recognition of the pigeons' outstanding performances. There you have it then ladies and gentlemen. A comprehensive account of the business carried out by the committee on members behalf. The club is moving forward in leaps and bounds and it is good to see so much constructive input from a large number of committee personnel and officials.
Gareth Watkins

1st Open Barcelona 58th Open International for Mannor Lofts-Norman

1st Open BICC PerpignanPearmain &son . Also Certificate of Merit Winner with BICC

1st open BICC St Vincent for the Padfield family

1stOpen BICC Marseille for David Hales

BICC Trophies-1


David Hales'Champion Tubby see text for performances.Winner of Certificate of Merit Award with the BICC

GG & C Cooper's Willagong 1st International Pau

Mealy Hen Mark Gilbert's BICC Agen International winner