Pigeon show to mark 40 years

The Royal Pigeon Racing Association returns to  the Winter Gardens this month
The Royal Pigeon Racing Association returns to the Winter Gardens this month

Blackpool will mark 40 years of hosting the biggest event in the pigeon fancier’s calender when the annual British Homing World Show returns later this month.

A giant pigeon flag will fly from the top of Blackpool Tower to mark the 40th anniversary of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) holding the event at the Winter Gardens.

The British Homing World Show of the Year at Blackpool's Winter Gardens. The Empress Ballroom.

The British Homing World Show of the Year at Blackpool's Winter Gardens. The Empress Ballroom.

Organisers expect the show to bring around 15,000 visitors to the resort over the weekend of January 21 and 22.

Fanciers will bring more than 2,000 homing pigeons to Blackpool making it the largest event of its kind in Europe, also boasting 200 exhibitors stands.

Ian Evans, RPRA general manager, is delighted the 40th year in Blackpool will also be his first year in charge.

He said “This is a massive event in our calendar and it always proves to be hugely popular.

The show provides a great boost to the local economy

“Not only have you got the attraction of so many pigeons and fanciers in one place but it also gives our members the opportunity to enjoy a weekend away.”

The event sees pigeon auctions with the most sought- after birds sometimes changing hands for thousands of pounds during the weekend.

Activity includes the judging of the UK’s best pigeons, talks, films and a young fanciers area.

As well as the flag, Blackpool will be decorated with welcome banners and two giant ‘pigeons’ in the form of Mr and Mrs Pigeon will be in the resort on January 21 to entertain visitors to the show.

It has been estimated the event is worth around £2.5m to the Blackpool economy.

It brings in trade for hotels, restaurants, taxis and other businesses at a time of year when the town would otherwise be quiet.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome the RPRA back to Blackpool.

“The show provides a great boost to the local economy.

“January is usually a quiet month for most seaside resorts but events like this prove Blackpool is open for business all year round.

“In particular, I am thrilled to congratulate them on the 40th anniversary show here in Blackpool, this is truly a fantastic achievement and we hope to see them return for many years to come.”

Every year visitors to the show have also helped to raise money for various charities, with nearly £3m raised so far.