Friday, 1 February 2013

Pigeon lofts were once a feature of the local landscape but interest in racing has declined over the last few decades. However, there is still a small but strong Silsden following for the fancy and locally-bred pigeons compete with much success in weekly races through the summer. Among the best-known competitors is Jim Waterhouse (pictured above), who has won countless trophies during his life-long hobby, which he shared with his late father, Norman, who was a successful breeder and racer for nigh on 80 years. Jim retired in 2011 as a porter at Airedale Hospital and previously had been a weaving overlooker when Silsden was a thriving mill town. Local fanciers are members of the Keighley and District Homing Society, which is one of eight clubs in the Pennine Valleys Federation. The federation covers an area from Huddersfield to Halifax and also includes Skipton. The new racing season starts in April.