Winchester: tribute to Prince Philip of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association
WINCHESTER Cathedral was chosen for another tribute to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
On the day of SAR’s funeral today (Saturday), members of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) will release 10 pigeons from cathedral towns across the UK, including Winchester.
The birds will represent each decade of the Duke’s life and will be simultaneously released across the UK.
Ian Evans, RPRA CEO, said: “We were deeply saddened to learn of the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing and we want to commemorate his life and show our support for the Royal Family. The RPRA and the Royal Family both share a rich history as the family has had a close affinity with the sport for over 100 years so we wanted to celebrate that by releasing pigeons across the UK.
“By accompanying the Queen to the Sandringham Estate the Duke has always shown an interest in royal pigeons and we think it would be a fitting tribute.”
The royal family began to breed pigeons at the end of the 19th century and the tradition has been continued by Queen Elizabeth II.
The Royal Lofts are well established in Sandringham under the supervision of a Loft Manager. What was once known as the National Homing Union, the association received royal patronage and became the Royal National Homing Union, which is now known as the Royal Pigeon Racing Association.
Queen Elizabeth is the patron saint of RPRA and regularly visited the lofts with the Duke during his visit to Sandringham.
The pigeons of the Royal Loft played a vital role during WWI and WWII as they were used as carrier pigeons. After the war, the pigeons returned to racing, winning national and international titles for the queen.
To honor this history and the continued support of the Royal Family, the RPRA decided to release pigeons across the UK in memory of the Duke.