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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Pigeon racing 'dying out'
The number of pigeon fanciers has halved in Cumbria in 10 years
Pigeon racing is in danger of dying out in Cumbria because young people are not attracted to the sport, it is claimed.

Fanciers across the county fear one of the North's most recognisable traditions may disappear if enough new enthusiasts cannot be found.

Experts say membership of pigeon clubs and federations has halved in the county over the past 10 years.

John Dixon, secretary of the west Cumbria Pigeon Racing Federation said: "When I first got involved with pigeons, we had 196 members in our federation alone.

"We had sustained that figure right up to 1991.

"Sadly we have lost half of those members since then.

"Unfortunately we are just not getting any young people into the sport."

Common phenomenon

Cyril Ostle, from Flimby, the secretary of the Derwent Valley federation, said the younger generation were "turning their back" on the pastimes of his age group.

"It's a common phenomenon with young people now and the commercialisation of all sports.

"Young people just don't seem to be interested anymore."

But he said he and colleagues throughout the county would continue in their efforts to attract fresh blood to the sport.

"We need to get across our enthusiasm to younger people."

Mr Dixon added: "We are trying to come up with some measures to get new people in, like waiving membership fees and other costs."

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