My fascination with bird keeping started, like most boys in the 1950's, with collecting birds eggs.  In those days my father used to take me nesting on Sundays, his only day off.  We would pack some sandwiches and a bottle of water and set off for the whole day.  We would walk for miles hoping to find 1 egg that I hadn't got in my collection.  In those days it was quite common to collect birds eggs, of course it is now totally illegal.  The first birds I kept were pigeons, in a small hutch. 

Growing up in a small terraced house with only a back yard and no room for a shed or aviary,  it was out of the question to think of keeping the type of birds I would have liked, but a friend of my fathers, Ray Bryan, kept Border Canaries, so most Saturdays my father would put me on a bus and 7 miles later I would be met at the other end by Ray and taken to his bird room, where I would spend the afternoon in awe, helping and being educated on the art of bird keeping. Eventually I made a double breeder and I kept a pair of red factors in my bedroom.  I bred quite a few birds that year and every morning at first light I was woken by mother feeding young and dad singing merrily.  I would lie there for hours just watching. 

When I left home at 19 and moved into my own house I built my first shed and aviary, starting with one pair of every type of Canary and a few British Finches.  I joined my local bird club, Hanley C.B.S.  In that first year I became assistant secretary, ending up running the society for approximately 20 years. We hosted some really great shows.  In those days the best show saw 1800 birds on display.  Like most cage bird societies one of the most memorable things I used to do every year was take a 57 seater coach, some years two coaches, of local bird fanciers to London to visit the National Exhibition, I was so excited for weeks before, preparing my team.  In those days another local member would collect all our birds and take them to London in bulk, at that time I was totally unaware that one day I would be the show manager of the National Exhibition, the greatest show in the British Isles. It was heartbreaking to see the biggest and longest running club, originally founded in 1902,  finally go to the wall.

At this time more and more specialist societies were being formed.  People seemed only interested in one variety and, with transport becoming easier, were prepared to travel to show at just the premier specialist shows.  I decided to contact all the local British bird keepers, inviting them to attend a meeting with regard to forming the Staffordshire British Bird and Mule Club. Thirty members attended that first meeting. The society has since then gone from strength to strength.  I was secretary of this society for 10 years before moving on to the National Exhibition.

In those 10 years I founded a company supplying trophies to bird societies.  Most trophies in those days were made of plastic, and coming from Stoke-on-Trent, the home of ceramics, I decided to make a range in china.  These trophies sold very well and the company grew, taking up most of my time. At one point I was supplying 500 bird clubs, including clubs in America and Canada, and many other parts of the world.  I attended shows all over the country selling my trophies, and was a trader at the National Exhibition for 10 years.

Consequently my bird showing suffered due to lack of time. I then sold the company through ill health and started to take a more active roll on the show scene, judging most major all British shows and becoming more active with the British Bird Council as a committee member. It was at this time I was asked to become the Section Representative at the National Exhibition.  Three years later becoming Assistant Show Manager and eventually Show Manager since 1998.  I now spend 4 months of the year organizing the biggest show in the British Isles. 

I feel very privileged to have been able to earn a living from my passion for bird keeping,  it is a wonderful hobby in which I have met thousands of  interesting people and made many life long friends.  If this website, which is my latest off shoot within the world of bird keeping, encourages only one new person to take up this fantastic hobby, then the thousands of hours it has taken will be worthwhile.

National Exhibition 2002