A local pigeon fancier, Reg, talks to TV reporter Clive Gunnell about his passion for homing pigeons. The sport uses the racing homer, a specially bred pigeon whose homing instincts are strong. The homer is a cross of breeds, the smerle, French cumulet, English carrier, dragoon and the horseman. The homer has endurance and can fly for hours on end without tiring and from the carrier pigeon, it inherited the ability to find its way home from great distances
Carrier and racing homer pigeons were used to carry messages during war with the British using about 9,500 birds during World War I. By World War II all countries were using them and in the aftermath of war, pigeon racing grew as a popular sport. In Britain, two routes are typically flown, north and south although the southern route across the channel is suspended due to fears over the spread of avian flu. Pigeon fanciers group pigeons into three categories, sport, fancy and utility. The animation film Valiant (2005) recounts a story about the Royal Homing Pigeon Service Squad.
The South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA) is the regional film archive for the South West of England. Established in 1993, SWFTA's core collection comprises of the combined programme libraries of Westward Television and TSW (Television South West). The archive also cares for a significant number of donated film collections, both amateur and professional, dating back to the early 1900s.