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Dagenham and District Caged Bird Society members enjoy biggest show of the season

PUBLISHED: 14:18 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:18 16 December 2019

Walter Scott's goldfinch won best in show while his granddaughter, Angel Keenan, won best juvenile foreign for her black hooded siskin. Picture: Jon King

Walter Scott's goldfinch won best in show while his granddaughter, Angel Keenan, won best juvenile foreign for her black hooded siskin. Picture: Jon King

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A caged bird society still going strong after almost 85 years has held its biggest show of the season.

Steve Wallace with his prizewinners. Picture: Jon KingSteve Wallace with his prizewinners. Picture: Jon King

Wantz Community Centre in Webbscroft Road, Dagenham, was filled with the sound of cheeping and chirping as members of Dagenham and District Caged Bird Society vied for top prize at the club's annual show.

In total, 36 people entered 366 birds including greenfinches, bullfinches, siskins and canaries with best in show scooped by a frisky goldfinch.

Pete Decourt, the society's president and treasurer, said: "The show is the biggest of the season. It's been hard work to organise, but it's been a very nice day. We always get a good turnout."
The society started in 1935 and while other clubs have closed, Dagenham's is still going strong with 80 members aged from 12 upwards.

Dagenham's club has survived so long because of the camaraderie among members who love the hobby, Pete added.

Club president and treasurer, Pete Decourt, with the winning birds. Picture: Jon KingClub president and treasurer, Pete Decourt, with the winning birds. Picture: Jon King

But with £2,000 prize money, feathers can get ruffled.

"It gets very competitive. But most people show for the love of it," the 76-year old said.

Bill and Steve Wallace, who picked up the hobby in childhood, won best mule and best hybrid.

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A thrilled Steve said: "This is what you get out for the hard work you put in."

But there's no secret to success, according to club secretary Richard Wilson.

"It's just pairing up two good quality birds to produce the right bird," he said.

Something which the best in show prizewinner, Walter Scott, knows well after taking up the hobby inspired by his dad, John, who sadly passed away eight weeks before the show.

A prize-winning Norwich canary. Picture: Jon KingA prize-winning Norwich canary. Picture: Jon King

"I'm over the moon, I didn't expect it. It's the first time I've won best in show," he said.

And granddaughter, Angel Keenan, 12, is continuing the family tradition with her own black hooded siskin scooping best juvenile foreign bird in show.

Pete, who has enjoyed the hobby for 65 years, said nowadays most caged birds are domesticated with some species such as canaries unable to look after themselves in the wild.

British birds have to be bred in captivity and ringed in line with government regulations with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs keeping an eye on things.

The club meets the third Saturday of the month. For more visitdagenhamcbs.com or call Richard on 07852 959447.


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