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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 April, 2004, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
Her Majesty's pigeon going cheap
Kevin Roberts and his pigeon
Kevin Roberts has up to 60 pigeons at his home
Pigeon fanciers have raised 50,000 for a children's hospice by auctioning off birds, including one which belonged to the Queen.

The royal pigeon raised just 85, which organisers say is quite cheap for a prestigious bird.

"The Queen's bird was middle of the road - just 85, in our auction last year 340 was the highest bid," said Kevin Roberts, one of the organisers.

The money will be handed to Hope House Hospice in Shropshire on Saturday.

The auction was the fifth organised by Mr Roberts, 44, and his friends from Rhos, near Wrexham.

The Queen and her family before her have been pigeon fanciers for years and our Queen has carried the tradition on
Kevin Roberts

Mr Roberts owns about 60 pigeons and the auction, which featured 140 birds, has grown annually.

"It all started off when we were sitting in the local pub and seeing if we could raise money," he said.

"We've had pigeons given to us from Belgium and Malta and last weekend we had bids from Germany."

Mr Roberts said they were delighted when the Queen decided to help their charity.

"The Queen and her family before her have been pigeon fanciers for years and our Queen has carried the tradition on," he said.

"A friend of ours knows her loft manager and that's how we got a bird".

He does not know who bought the Queen's bird, but there is not mistaking its royal roots.

"You can tell which bird is hers because they are all rung with ER,'" he said.

Hope House hospice, in Oswestry, provides respite care for children and their families in mid and north Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire.

It has more than 250 families on its books and is in the middle of a campaign to build a new hospice in the Conwy Valley in north Wales.

Hope House opened in September 1995 and has to raise 1.5m each year to remain open.

The pigeon racers have raised the 50,000 over the past five years.

Artist raises 4,500 for hospice
22 Sep 03  |  North East Wales

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