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Young pigeon fancier’s starring role for sport

Press release issued for the UK sport of pigeon racing

A school girl from Gloucestershire who has a passion for pigeon racing is set to appear on national television, in a bid to attract a new generation to the sport.

Heather Davies who is seven-years-old, will appear on BBC One’s Breakfast News on Saturday morning (between 7am and 10am), on 13th October.

Heather, of Rye Street near Tewkesbury, has been a racing pigeon fancier (the name commonly given to racing pigeon owners) for two years.  She has her own loft in her back garden which is home to seven birds.

BBC Breakfast News sports presenter Mike Bushell visited Heather at home with a film crew earlier this month. During the day Mike saw for himself how the sport of pigeon racing is undergoing a revival among the younger generations.

Mike has tried more than 300 sports in the last seven years as part of his regular Saturday morning feature entitled ‘Mike’s Sporting Challenge’.

Heather – who rather aptly lives with her parents in a cottage named ‘Pigeon House’ – gave Mike a crash course lesson in the ancient art of pigeon racing.

The Castle Morton Primary School pupil treated him to a tour of her loft and even allowed the sports reporter to race one of her birds.

Heather was introduced to the world of pigeon racing by her father Jeremy Davies.

Jeremy, who has kept pigeons all of his life, is the manager of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association’s (RPRA’s) One Loft.  The giant structure is capable of housing more than 1,500 racing pigeons and is owned by the RPRA – which has its headquarters in Cheltenham.

The RPRA boasts more than 30,000 members across the UK and has HRH The Queen as its Patron.

Pigeon racing can be traced back to 220AD.  The very best pedigree birds can fly at speeds of up to 70mph and distances of more than 900 miles.

Pigeons have played a vital role through history.  Julius Caesar sent word of his military conquests via carrier pigeons; Genghis Khan also used pigeons to send messages overseas about his battles; and the first news of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo came via a pigeon.  They were also used by Allied forces in WWI and WWII.  The Dickin Medal, the highest possible decoration for valor awarded to animals, has been given to a total of 53 – 32 of which have been pigeons.

The RPRA regularly undertakes school visits so pupils can learn all about the birds, the sport of pigeon racing and the pigeon’s role in history.

For more information about the sport visit pigeonracinguk.co.uk or follow @PigeonRacingUK on Twitter.