We fly under the loft name of Harrison and Hull with the partnership consisting now of Dave and Janet Hull, sadly Vic Harrison passed away in October 2005. We continue to keep his name on the partnership out of respect for the integral part he played in producing the team of pigeons we house today.
Vic Harrison had racing pigeons in his blood, with his Father and both his Grandfathers racing it was inevitable that he got the bug and he continued to race throughout his life on his own and as Mr & Mrs Harrison after marrying Beryl with only a short break due to work commitments. He was also involved in the administration side of the Sport for most of his life and this again began in Childhood when at the age of ten he was Secretary of the Walmer Bridge Boys Club. Beryl took over Vicís secretarial duties when he died, retiring herself in 2012. Janet is now secretary of the local club Old Lodge HS continuing in a family tradition.
Daveís love of racing pigeons also started in childhood when his brother Johnny ten years his senior began racing pigeons. Dave then built his own loft at the age of 8 with childhood friend David Mayor from scrap wood, local fanciers gave the pair a few pigeons which they looked after and trained on the railway even though they were unable to race due to lack of money. For two years Dave learned how to look after pigeons properly and he feels that those two years gave him invaluable knowledge in how to be a good stock man. At ten Dave began to fly with his brother Johnny and flew racing pigeons on and off with Johnny and on his own until 1995 when he married Janet.
Dave and Janet started their racing partnership in 1996 flying as Mr & Mrs Hull but sharing the stock birds with Vic & Beryl. It soon became apparent that Janet also had racing Pigeons in her blood, as she instinctively knew how to condition and get the best out of a racing pigeon. Both partnerships raced their pigeons naturally and enjoyed much success winning at club, fed and combine level as well as specialist races.
Dave Hull and Vic Harrison after winning 1st & 2nd Section West NWCC 2004 Falaise 350 miles
In 2004 after Vic and Beryl moved house it was decided to fly as one partnership that of Harrison and Hull and move away from flying natural opting for a widowhood system. We moved the pigeons to the new address during the winter of 2003 and stopped the race birds within a week to what was to be the new stock loft. The new race loft was built by Clyesdale Lofts to our specifications for flying open door and was erected at the beginning of March 2004. The loft is 76 foot long and 10 foot deep with a 2ft full-length corridor with internal corridor doors to close individual sections off. The loft had three integral aviaries, four widowhood sections housing twelve boxes in each, two sections that are railed with sloping floors for race hens and three sections for young birds with turn round perches. The stopped race birds were in their new loft by the middle of March and settled in well winning 14 x 1st prizes during the old bird season including 2 x 1st Section C (West) NWCC at Falaise 350 miles and Saintes 560 miles. The main priority with the 2004 youngsters was to retain a good team to yearling stage to replace the stopped birds, so they were only lightly raced.
Although the 2005 Season was thwarted with problems with Vic fighting cancer and Janet also suffering serious health problems we still managed to put up some excellent performances in the BICC inc. 3rd Sect 87th Open Allencon 385 miles 3101 birds. The young birds were even better with our prize winnings exceeding £3750. We won 1st Section C (West) & Open NWCC Futurity Race (bred by W & M Brown St Helens and raced by us), also 2nd 4th & 5th Section C (West), 1st 3rd 4th & 5th NWCC Gold ring race and 1st Section West Bamfords Gold Ring race.
We fly in Old Lodge HS a local club with good strong competition which competes weekly in the strong Lymm Federation and in the Central Lancs Combine which has as members some of the most renowned fanciers in the North West of England. All members of Old Lodge including us are on the extreme West of the Fed and Combine. We are also members of Bamber Bridge HS flying in the North West Lancs Federation ( we do not compete much as we don't really like the transporter and the race program is poor with race points bordering on the welsh border - too many hawks) North West Classic Club, National Flying Club, Midlands National FC and Eccles Two Bird.
As we are not young bird specialists we do not place many youngsters on the darkness opting for natural young bird racing and 80% of our youngsters are lightly raced having only 2 or 3 races thus allowing them to mature well to yearling stage. We concentrate our efforts on Old Bird racing at all levels and whilst we fly extremely well on the short sprint land races our true love of the sport is at the middle distance racing from 320 miles to 560 miles across the channel. We are working hard at developing a long distance family to compete well at the 600 mile plus distance and one day We hope to fulfill Vic's dream of timing in race time at the 900 mile plus race of Palamos. On our very first attempt at Tarbes 737 miles we sent 2 x 2 year old cocks both returned home with Parky finishing 363rd Open NFC Tarbes 2007 this was after he had been 9th Section L and 18th Open NFC Cholet 2007 6,798 birds. The future looks promising for our distance dreams.
Unfortunately in the New Year of 2008 Dave suffered Severe Kidney Failure which resulted in him having to begin Kidney Dialysis and also go through the rigorous testing procedure for a Kidney Transplant. Even though he was extremely poorly with his kidneys working at only 10% capacity we started the 2008 season as normal. By May he had deteriorated to crisis point and he was put on dialysis which was four x 1 hour sessions each day which was then was changed later on in the year to one 8 hour session each day. Even with dialysis Daves kidneys worked at 8% during 2008 and he was in such a bad way that Racing pigeons was hard work. Even so we managed some really excellent performances 2008 which was testament to the excellent team of birds we had. During 2009 we hardly raced as Dave's health just kept deteriorating and the dialysis just ensured he was kept alive, racing pigeons was the last thing on our minds. It was a struggle just to keep tending to them.
Dave continued on dialysis until 11th February 2010 when during the early hours the call came that a donor kidney was available, so it was off to Manchester for the transplant. In order for Dave to recover properly we decided not to race during 2010.
We began racing again in 2011 with a team of older birds that had been off the road for 2 years and some yearlings that had only been trained as youngsters. Even though it was a struggle the older birds had lost some of their vigor having had 2 years off and the younger birds didn't have a clue we still managed to win 5x1st, 6x2nd, 6x3rd, 3x4th, 4x5th 1x6th plus 1st, 2nd 2x3rd NWCC Section West plus other top 10 positions and a 2nd open NWCC. We also won in 2011 Ace Channel Bird and The Vic Harrison Memorial Challenge in Old Lodge HS and NWCC Ace Bird 2011. At the end of old bird racing we decided that the years of not racing had left a huge gap in our race team, so we decided that we would need a strong team of yearlings for 2012. We were starting again from scratch so the young birds for 2011 would have 4 or 5 races only.
What a year to be starting again from scratch with a team mainly made up of yearlings. 2012 proved to be one of the worst years in UK pigeon racing history if not the worst year ever. We managed to hold our own winning many top 6 positions in the club and fed but 1sts were thin on the ground for us that year winning only 3x1st one of which was the Carentan Jubilee Race. Again to give us as many options as possible our young birds were lightly raced kept natural and just schooled on.
So it was 2013 when we finally felt we had a half decent team of widowhood cocks and they certainly did us proud. We flew a full Old Bird Program and in our worst race for the whole of the season we finished 3rd, 5th and 6th from Cheltenham 27/04. At all the other races we were either 1st or 2nd winning 7 x1st, 10x2nd 4x3rd, 6x5th, 3x6th in 11 old bird races plus every available old bird trophy. Again still not fully satisfied we decided to be really strict and retain only the old birds that had won either 1st prizes or multiple top 4 positions in favor of having again a good team of yearlings in 2013 in the widowhood loft. therefore the youngsters in 2012 were not darkened and raced lightly.
ALL THE ABOVE YEARS WE HAVE RACED USING A T3 CLOCK.
The winter of 2013 has seen major renovations to our loft in anticipation of racing on ETS. Gone are the open door and a new front has been made for the loft with 9 boxes with integral landing boards. Also in 2014 we are aiming to race hens again on a widowhood type system having not bothered with hens since Dave got ill back in 2008. We intend to race youngsters competitively all being well (with our health) for the first time in what seems a lifetime but was in fact 2007. Fingers crossed it all works out for us.