The Royal Pigeon Racing Association Hold Lords Vs Commons Race at Bletchley Park
On the morning of Wednesday 13 June, the Royal Pigeon Racing Association will be releasing some 650 birds at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes at the Lords vs Commons pigeon race.
Bletchley Park, the home of the world war two code-breakers, has been chosen as the site for the race because of the special role played by British pigeons in supporting the war effort in both World Wars. It is anticipated that every pigeon will be designated to an MP or peer. Chairman, Chris Davies MP and Vice Chair, Chris Evans, MP of the All-Party Pigeon Racing Group will be in attendance along with Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South and Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty and other senior Parliamentarians.
It is thought that the most recent Lords Vs Commons Pigeon Race was held in 1928 when the birds were released by Sir Cooper Rawson MP in Old Palace Yard in the House of Commons. An annual Pigeon Race was held between the Lords and Commons and it is hoped that the revived contest will now be held every year.
Carrier pigeons played a vital part in World War One acting as military messengers with their homing ability and speed. Over 100,000 pigeons were used in the war with a success rate of 95% in delivering their messages.
Pigeons from the Royal Loft were also used as carrier pigeons in both World Wars. 32 pigeons were presented with the Dickin Medal including Royal Blue from the Sandringham Estate who was recognised for gallantry in its role of reporting a lost aircraft in 1940.
The race will be raising funds for the charity, Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. The Royal Pigeon Racing Association is encouraging MPs and peers to sponsor a pigeon for the race with all proceeds going to Combat Stress.
Sue Freeth, Chief Executive at Combat Stress, said: “We’re so grateful to Pigeon Racing UK and Ireland and the Royal Pigeon Racing Association for choosing to support Combat Stress through the Lords vs Commons pigeon race. Each year we receive 2,000 referrals from former servicemen and women dealing with trauma-related mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. Without amazing fundraisers, we wouldn’t be able to provide this life-changing support.”
The progress of the race can be tracked online on the Royal Pigeon Racing Association’s website and the winner will be presented with a small trophy.
The race is also supported by Pigeon Racing UK & Ireland. Colin Clark, Chair of Pigeon Racing UK & Ireland comments: “We are delighted to be recreating the Lords vs Commons race with the All Party Parliamentary Pigeon Racing Group 90 years on. We hope this celebration will encourage MPs to reignite their support of pigeon racing and again make this an annual event. We look forward to the event at Bletchley Park and welcome any donations for Combat Stress.”