Paul and Helen Kendall - UK 1st Grand National Tarbes

Paul and Helen Kendall have lived and raced their pigeons for many years in the small village of Wantage in Oxfordshire England. They have the proud distinction of being the only fanciers in England to win two first open Grand Nationals, Pau in 1992 and Tarbes in 2010 and two second open Grand Nationals from Pau.

This is at a distance of 571 miles and 581 miles (980 km).
Paul started racing on his own at the age of fourteen keeping about twenty birds and racing south at the same address as he is now living and racing from. 
In 1969 Paul won two first sections and a third section with the National flying club, so he is no stranger to success, also winning 2nd section, 3rd open Pau with the Central Southern Classic FC with “Classic Lass“.  Although Paul and Helen race in their local club it is National racing that gives them the greatest pleasure and excitement. The big time really started for Paul and Helen when in 1992 they won the National Flying Club Grand National from Pau, the National Flying Club Grand National is the most prestigious race in the UK, the birds have to fly the channel late in the evening and they have a coastline fronting well over 300 miles (480 km)

They clocked a five year old widowhood cock called “Holloway Boy” to win first section (provincial) F first open.  These National races from France are very hard for the English birds, they have to cross the English channel after flying for many hours and as the light is fading. The courage and determination of these birds is amazing.
After “Holloway Boy” won the National Flying Club Pau Grand National, Paul exchanged some birds with Harding Bros from Peasedown St John, who had won the Grand National from Pau in 1994 with “Ashgrove King” and with Geoff Cooper also from Peasedown St John, who had won many top National Flying Club positions, including 1st open Grand National from Tarbes 570 miles (964 km)  “Ashgrove King” was bred by Harding Bros from Geoff Cooper stock.

“Holloway Boy” was bred from Willie Clerebout  stock by D. Parkins a good friend of Paul and Helen.  In 1998 a son of “Holloway Boy” when paired to”Classic Lass” was 4th section F 80th open National Flying Club Pau, the following year the same pigeon called “Double”, was 2nd section F 20th open Pau.
One of Paul and Helen’s best racers and breeders is “Morning Glory”.  His sire is a son of “Holloway Boy” 1st NFC Pau when paired to a daughter of “Ashgrove King” 1st NFC Pau.   The dam was bred by Geoff Cooper and she was a daughter of “Jayne” a top racer and breeder for Geoff. “Jayne “ was from a brother to “Titch” a top racer and breeder for Geoff, “Titch” being the Grandsire of George, Geoff’s Tarbes Grand National winner.
In 2000 Paul and Helen sent of team of six cocks to the National Flying Club Pau Grand National and they clocked five in race time.  The highlight was “Morning Glory” winning 1st section F 2nd open. In 2001 “Morning Glory” was 10th section F, 82nd National Flying Club Grand National San Sebastion, and in 2002 1st section F, 2nd open National Flying Club Grand National Pau, winning the coveted National Flying Certificate of Merit for having a bird in the first 100 of the open Grand National, plus the National Flying Club Averages and the Langstone Gold Cup.  This was a dream come true.

Paul and Helen also raced a good cock called “Peasedown Genes” the sire was bred by Geoff Cooper and the dam was also bred by Geoff being a half sister to Mark Gilbert’s Dax International winner. “Peasedown Genes” won four top National Flying Club positions, plus winning the section in the BBC Nantes National.
In 2007 after talking with Geoff Cooper and Mark Dorrington of Litton Somerset another exchange of birds took place.  One of the exchanges was a brother to “Morning Glory” which Mark Dorrington paired to a hen from his Jos Thone bloodlines, which is a direct daughter of “Maximus”. A young bird from this pairing called “Litton Glory” was sent to the Tarbes Grand National/ International with the National Flying Club and was timed on the day, flying 581 miles into the wind, to win 1st section F, 1st open Grand National/International. Paul also clocked a second bird later that evening to win 3rd section F. 7th open.  This bird was inbred to “Morning Glory” and is called “GloryTimes”.  Paul and Helen only sent two to this race and clocked two that evening, when there was only 27 birds clocked on the day.  They were also the furthest flying loft to clock on the winning day.

1ste national Tarbes

Paul and Helen race all there birds on a standard widowhood system.  They have a small loft, starting the season with 27 cocks flying to 24 boxes, the cocks have to fight for their boxes, with some sleeping on the floor.  Before the birds were sent to the race they had their hens for about ten minutes.  Paul and Helen do not routinely treat for anything, only if they think there is a problem.  Paul feeds Garvo corn for racing.  It was a pleasure to visit Paul and Helen and see these marvellous birds, “Morning Glory” is now thirteen and is fit and well rearing a young bird, defending his nest like  a yearling.  This shows the vitality of this family of birds and I’m sure Paul and Helen will have more success in the near future. One of the positive aspects of this story is how a good family of pigeons can be bred from good fanciers exchanging birds between each other, with no money ever changing hands.