I just wanted to tell you a little bit about my dad, Brian McHale … He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004 and sadly passed away in October 2012 from prostate cancer and a stroke. He was a successful flyer for over 30 years, flying with Hawksworth and Horsforth, Leeds Pigeon Clubs. He absolutely loved his hobby and was very passionate about his pigeons, perhaps sometimes even putting them before his wife, who often described herself as ‘a pigeon widow’. This however was all said in good humour and in fact my mum enjoyed it as much as he did and actually looked after the birds when dad was at work. Dad also used his pigeons in a very positive way, helping to raise money for charity by organising races or donating his birds to charity auctions. He took his birds into our local school which catered for children with special needs, and where my nephew was a pupil. They loved his visits and dad got a tremendous amount of pleasure from it too. Also our local primary school had made visits to his lofts, to learn about the birds homing and navigational skills etc. His pigeons appeared on various TV shows. When a shot was needed of pigeons dad would get a call. His grandchildren were naturally very excited by this. It was a running joke in our family and each new grandchild would have a bird named after them, and dad seemed to have a knack of matching up the grandchild’s personality with that of the pigeon!
When dad died the grand children shared out all his prize pigeon medals and they now have pride of place in their bedrooms. My dad made life-long friends amongst the pigeon fraternity both locally and further afield. Where ever we went he was always on the lookout for lofts. He would go to see if the owner was about and would then spend a long time chatting. After his death we received literally hundreds of condolence cards from fellow fanciers. Keeping and racing pigeons brought my dad years of pleasure. When he had to give up due to ill health he still received the BHW magazine and looked forward to reading it, which is why I wanted to let you know that I on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK will be hosting an information stand at the Pigeon Show of the Year in Blackpool. We will have information for you to take away and read or will just be there if you want to chat. My colleagues and I are looking forward to meeting you, so please do come along and say hello. Anyone who any concerns about prostate cancer can call Prostate Cancer UK’s confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383. Free to landlines and staffed by specialist nurses, it is open 9am-6pm weekdays plus 9am – 8pm on Wednesdays.