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Child Champion Pigeon Fancier Aiming High

A young autistic Dromore boy has been ruffling a few feathers with his new hobby as a pigeon fancier.

Jack Delaney is winging his way to success after picking up British and Irish titles in his first year in pigeon racing. The 11-year-old, who is autistic, has been looking after his racing birds with the help of his cousin Ronan and grandfather Gerald.

Jack’s family have been racing and keeping pigeons for generations and his grandfather hopes someday Jack and Ronan will continue that legacy. The dedicated boys tend to their birds every day after school. It’s breeding season at the minute so they’re kept quite busy, paying particular attention to one pigeon, Villawood Queen, who is a prize bird. Jack explained: “I’ve been breeding them and racing them and they are very nice animals. “I have about 50 of them or 60. My ambition is to win all the nationals and beat my Grandpa Gerald.

“Taking up the hobby has helped young Jack develop his social skills and his personality and his family couldn’t be more proud of his progress. His granddad told UTV: “We got him started in pigeons and it changed his whole life. “He can come in and out of the pigeons no problem. He can come out and meet with all the pigeon men, communicate with them all. “He can go to all the big shows – even to Blackpool. He can go talk to them all and it’s just changed his life completely.” Jack’s already conquered Britain and Ireland and he’s now planning to fly the nest and challenge for titles in Europe.

New-Bridge Integrated College student Jack Delaney (8JK) and younger cousin Ronan McCambridge have been recognised as the Best Young Pigeon Fanciers in the UK for the second consecutive year. They were awarded the Guy Barrett Trophy at The Royal Pigeon Racing Association Show of the Year, in Blackpool on Saturday. The award is based on their outstanding racing performance over the past year and their contribution to the sport. Jack and Ronan were among 15,000 pigeon fanciers who attended the Blackpool event.

Jack and Ronan who race together as Delaney & McCambridge also won the RPRA Irish Region Young Fancier of the year at the annual NIPA awards in November, and the mileage for the best performance 0-250miles. Well done boys!

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