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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 12:29 GMT
1m luxury for pampered pigeons
World Pigeon Centre
The World Pigeon Centre is based in Belgium
A County Durham bird lover claims to be the first in the UK to send his favourite pigeons to a luxury 1m hotel - in Belgium.

Bob Dodsworth, 59, is paying 198 for two pigeons to be housed at the World Pigeon Centre in Hoeselt, Belgium.

The centre gives its feathered guests the ultimate in luxury, with air-conditioned lofts, special diets and personal trainers.

Mr Dodsworth, of West Rainton, near Durham, hopes the pampered lifestyle will help his pigeons become racing champions.

World Pigeon Centre
Pigeons have their own air-conditioned coops

He said: "They are so well looked after that they get better health checks than we would on the NHS.

"Their every need is catered for, just like athletes attending the Olympics.

"There are pigeons housed there from all over the world including the USA, Australia and even China.

"But I'm the only person from the UK who has signed up to the centre. This is definitely the way forward for pigeon racing."

Mr Dodsworth is a joiner and spokesman for the Up North Combine, the north-east of England-based pigeon racing organisation.

'Wooden huts'

He added: "Unfortunately, none of my birds are champions. But I'm hoping that with all the expert training in Belgium, I might eventually have a couple of real champs under my wing.

"If we could get a place like this built in the UK it would be brilliant.

"But all we have here are wooden huts in allotments.

"By comparison, the Belgian centre is like the Hilton Hotel."

Bird experts from the world-famous Ghent University are on hand to assist with any illnesses.

Humans are also welcome at the hotel, which boasts a restaurant, bar and meeting rooms.



See also:

17 Jan 03 | England
14 Nov 02 | England
21 Oct 02 | England
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