Pigeon fanatics from across the UK will make their way to Blackpool later this month for the annual homing show.
The British Homing World Show of the Year will feature more than 2,000 birds in the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens, which has been home to the event for 41 years.
It is an increase on the 1,700 that were entered at last year’s competition.
The popular event, which takes place this year on January 20 and 21, is reportedly worth around £10m to the resort’s economy and has also raised more than £3m for charity.
This year, the exhibition boasts 120 trade stands for those attending.
Ian Evans, general manager of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association and organiser of the event, expects this year to be as popular as ever.
He said: “2018 marks the 46th anniversary of the show. This is a huge event on our calender and it always proves to be popular among attendees.
“Pigeon racing is not simply just a hobby for the fancying community. For many, the past time helps people to stay active and social.
“It is such a delight to host such an amazing show and gather our members and their birds all in one place providing them the opportunity for companionship and friendship.”
Around 15,000 people attended last year for the two-day event, which draws visitors from across Europe.
Pigeon racing grew in popularity in the 1900s, with the birds having been used to carry messages for centuries before that.
Pigeons were used extensively by both sides during the Second World War to send messages and there was an official pigeon postal service throughout France in the 1800s.
· Tickets for this year’s British Homing World Show cost £7 for the Saturday and £6 for the Sunday. Children go free.
Tickets for the Gala Evening and Presentation of RPRA Awards, which takes place on the Saturday evening cost £16.
For more information about the event, visit www.rpra.org/show-of- the-year
Pigeon show’s long history
The British Homing World Show of the Year has been based in Blackpool for more than four decades but its history goes back to 1972 when the then-RPRA general manager Len Lewis came up with the idea of a national pigeon show.
The organisation’s website says: “With the assistance of fanciers in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire a show was put on in 1973 at the Doncaster Racecourse complex.
“The show continued at Doncaster until 1977 when the Federation Colombophile Internationale asked the RPRA to host the International Olympiad. The size of the show meant that the committee had to find a larger venue and so the show moved to the Winter Gardens at Blackpool where it has remained.”