YOUNG Charlie Millward cannot explain how his pigeons find their way home but that has not stopped him picking up awards for his hobby and landing an appearance on the flagship BBC children’s TV programme Blue Peter.
The 11-year-old, of Newton Drive, Drury, near Buckley, is following a family tradition that stretches back five generations.
Charlie, who has 18 pigeons of his own, said: “I’ve been interested in pigeons for a long time, about five years.
“The way they come home is quite unbelievable.
“We go to the other side of Ellesmere and let them go about three times a week and then they fly back.
“I don’t know how they know how to come home. No one knows.”
Charlie’s proud dad Ian, 44, who works for Airbus, took up pigeon-keeping from his father John and said being on Blue Peter is something everyone wants to do when they are young.
Ian said: “He is really keen on the pigeons, he really deserves it.
“Charlie has won a few awards now. He goes to Blackpool to pick them up from the Royal Pigeon Racing Association. He started by tagging along with us and it progressed slowly. When we start taking the pigeons out at four or five months old, we train them up from two miles to 10 miles.
“Then they start racing at 70 miles, 100 miles then they move up to 300 miles. They can fly at 60mph.
“The racing is worked out by time over distance and that gives a velocity.
“The most important thing is to keep the pigeons healthy and look after them.
“Charlie is out here all the time in the summer, but when he is in school that comes first. It wouldn’t be if he had his way.”
Charlie, a pupil at Elfed High School and member of the Horse and Jockey Pigeon Club, cannot wait for his TV appearance to be aired later this month.
He said: “I was happy to be on the show but a little bit nervous. I was a bit nervy on what I had to say but I soon got it. They showed me with my pigeons and talked to me – they did a lot of filming.”
Charlie now has his sights set firmly on racing his pigeons against those from across the British Isles – something his dad thinks he could achieve in the next