HERE’S one pigeon fancier who had a right royal ‘coo’.
Eamon Kelly, 48, from Steventon went home yesterday after nabbing these two fine specimens, which had been donated by The Queen.
It was part of a fundraising pigeon auction, held at the Headington Royal British Legion club, in Edgecombe Road.
The auction had been organised by the two racing pigeon clubs which meet there to raise money for the Royal British Legion.
Bob Holt, chairman of the Shotover and District Racing Pigeon Club, said: “It is tremendous that she has donated two pigeons.
“The pigeons we have here today came from the cream of fanciers from all over the country.”
Keith Shipperley, auction organiser and secretary of the Oxford Central Racing Pigeon Club, wrote to some of the UK’s best breeders and pigeon keepers asking for donations.
He then drove far and wide collecting them – and when the Headington resident went to The Queen’s pigeon lofts on the Sandringham Estate the keepers decided to give him two birds instead of one.
He said: “All I did was ring and write to some of the top pigeon breeders.
“I have had phone calls from people as far away as Leicester wondering if they can come here today but we haven’t got any phone bidders from Japan or China.
“The Royal British Legion doesn’t charge us for being here so I thought I would organise this auction and we would give them what we raised.”
Around 70 pigeons were on sale at the auction yesterday afternoon, coming from breeders as far away as Scotland.
Some of the birds had originally been bred in Holland and Italy.
Mr Kelly, who owns in the region of 350 pigeons, came away with lots 1 and 1A, after forking out £105 and £115 respectively.
He said: “I don’t know what I’ll call them. I will be breeding from them and if they breed well I’ll name them.
“I have already got four or five pigeons from the Royal Lofts but I am very pleased to have bought these.
“Normally the best fanciers come to auctions and the best pigeons are on sale so I enjoy coming to them.”
One of the distinctive features of these Royal birds are their leg rings which feature The Queen’s monogram – ER.
There are in the region of 20m leg rings and only 50 of these feature these two letters.
Pigeon auctioneer Tony Cowan said: “The rings are very valuable – more than the pigeons themselves.
“I have done auctions all over the world but if you ask me what a good pigeon is, I don’t know. After all, experts built the Titanic.”