When the Midlands National Flying Club made the film ‘The Queen’s Wings’ it was successful as well as a nice tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, our reigning Monarch. The feedback was most gratifying with many positive comments. It was soon very evident that the piece, produces by Jim Jenner, was a superb way of portraying the pigeon sport. The many benefits of pigeons were also obvious for our younger generation as pigeons are the ideal way to introduce living creatures to children, especially for those who are brought up in an inner city conurbation environment.
University studies have revealed that young children who were deprived of an association with either nature or a living creature often fail to reach maturity. As a lad myself that was able to spend much of my time on my grandparents’ farm I can vouch for the huge advantages of a childhood so close to nature. I must say that I had a wonderful childhood being as ‘free as a bird’ in my formative years. The benefits of being with and looking after animals are immense. This has left me with a lifelong passion for animals especially for my pigeons.
A budding young pigeon enthusiast of the future perhaps?
We aren’t able to bring the countryside to the cities but with the aid of the World Wide Web we can bring living creatures into the class room. Filmmaker Jim Jenner has been a long time pioneer in this belief and living. He is able to go fishing and to spend most of his free time in Montana, one of the least inhabited states of America’s countryside. He is aware of the joys of wild life and animals in general. Jim told me about the book ‘Last Child in the Woods’: that is the work of Richard Louvre who tells in a brilliant way of the pitfalls of rearing children deprived of any contact with both nature and animals.
With the financial support of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, the aid of Jim Jenner and the help and advice of Richard Chambers of Kingsmead College, the Midlands National Flying Club has been able to help Jim in his attempts to get a foothold into schools. The fact is that racing pigeons are such a wonderful education tool. This becomes abundantly clear when one goes to the newly created website www.flyingbacktonature.com which is largely the work of Jim and Peter Humphries. With a considerable amount of supporting input from Gary Daykin and Richard the new website is ready for lift-off. I would recommend all readers who have access to the Net to visit this site and see just how wisely the RPRA are in aiding the MNFC to get this funded to educate our schoolchildren of the benefits of nature as well as to introduce them to the world of pigeons.
All readers can help this valuable venture to be a nationwide success by recommending their local school to the ‘Fly back to nature’ website. It is abundantly clear that if we don’t recruit new faces to our wonderful hobby, the pigeon racing will cease to exist. With your assistance we can give it our ‘best shot’ to get it introduced into the modern school curriculum. In this way we can make sure that the RPRA funds and the MNFC efforts aren’t wasted but actually spent wisely to get new fanciers into the sport and especially to make teachers and children aware of the great benefits both mentally and educationally of ‘Flying Back to Nature’.
Kingsmead Tech College pupils who attended their school's 'open day' last summer
In addition to this new website, the Midlands National Flying Club under the directorship of Gary Daykin and the website skills of Peter Humphries, there is another website also called ‘Secret Messages’ www.secretmessages.org.uk which tells of the impact of racing pigeons during the two World Wars. As 2014 is the Centenary in commemoration of the World War I, the MNFC thought that it was an excellent time to remind the people of Europe of how important the humble ‘bird of peace’ was to our cause, saving thousands of service men their lives including airmen and sailors from a watery grave. As pigeon fanciers we should all be very proud of our pigeons and their noble past history.
The Club is now working on putting the infrastructure in place to get a network of people into the schools in the U.K to give a talk and demonstration of how the birds were used in wartime to deliver the secret coded messages back their home lofts. It is hoped that these visits will inspire a small percentage of these young children to keep pigeons themselves and therefore help to stop the steady downward spiral of our shrinking membership numbers within the sport of pigeon racing in order to maintain our wonderful hobby for future generations to come. Though we appreciate that the vast majority of youngsters won’t join our ranks surely our visits will be worth the efforts if they raise the sport’s image and encourage a better appreciation and general respect for the racing pigeon.
The 'Flying Back to Nature' Logo displayed on the Midlands National Flying Club 2014 handbook
Royal Approval Very exciting news was revealed that the Royal Lofts under the direction of H.R.H. Prince Charles, have given their blessing to one of the Royal Lofts bird’s carrying a ‘goodwill message from a local mayor in France back to the Royal Loft in conjunction with a MNFC race in 2014. What better way could there be to mark the significant part that our birds played in the ‘Great’ wars.