One of the top winning lofts in Northern Ireland during the 2012 season was Bingham & Seaton of Ligoniel. This partnership fly in East Antrim Section C as members of the NIPA.
2012 saw them finish as top prize-winners in the very competitive Ligoniel & District. Fanciers of the Year in Section C – Old Bird Champion with 495 Points and Young Bird Champion with 275 Points. Let’s go back to the start and how the partnership was formed. Leo Bingham raced as J & L Bingham in West Belfast and Leo won the first race he competed in winning All Pools and the DTW. Billy Seaton first raced with Brookfield HPS, members of the Ulster Federation.
In 1990 they formed the Bingham & Seaton partnership and raced with Shankill HPS. Ballyhill HPS was formed in 1997 to race with the NIPA and Bingham & Seaton were very successful. This club disbanded and the partnership then joined Ligoniel HPS in 2003 and have been a major force since then.
Ligoniel has always been recognised as one of the strongest clubs in Northern Ireland and have 40 to 45 members racing. Bingham & Seaton first won 1st Sect & 1st Open NIPA from Mallow in 2004 with 18,000 birds competing. From 2007 until 2012 a six year period they have been Top Prize-winners four times and runner-up twice. It is the period covering 2010, 2011 and 2012 that I want to concentrate on.
During that period they have won The East Antrim Sect C on 14 occasions: 2010 – 5 x 1sts, 2011 – 2 x 1sts and 2012 – 7 x 1sts, with average birdage 4,500 to 5,000 pigeons. Ligoniel would be their main club but they still send birds to Shankill & District. In 2011 they recorded an amazing performance in the Shankill HPS with the young birds. They had 10 come together and took the first 9 places in the club and the first 9 in the Ulster Federation – the 10th bird did not register.
In 2012 they only sent twice with Shankill and concentrated on Ligoniel. The top highlights of 2012: 7 x 1st NIPA Sect C three old birds and four with young birds, and 9 x 1sts with Ligoniel & District.
A class Cheq tip hen won the Section twice and won the coveted RPRA Award plus the Irish Region Award. Leo and Billy were looking forward to Blaxkpool Show weekend and receiving their award but it was not to be as the plane out of Belfast was unable to take off due to poor weather conditions.
The Ligoniel HPS have a 20 Bird Limit and some top results recorded by Bingham & Seaton were the following in 2012: 1st, 4th & 7th Club Tullamore 661 birds; 1st, 3rd & 4th Club Talbenny 395 birds; 1st, 3rd & 5th Club Fermoy 156 birds; 1st, 3rd & 4thy Club Bude 115 birds; 3rd & 5th Club Penzance 150 birds; 1st, 2nd & 3rd Club Tullamore 300 birds; 1st & 9th Club Tullamore (3) 510 birds; 1st & 2nd Club Roscrea 599 birds; 1st & 8th Club Fermoy 473 birds; 2nd, 3rd & 4th Club Tullamore 370 birds; 2nd & 3rd Club Fermoy 297 birds; 1st Club Rosscarbery 201 birds.
Several pigeons have played a major part in establishing this prolific winning team. Dark w/f cock a winner of 7 x 1sts and purchased at the Clearance Sale for Raymond Killops in Newtownbreda, this bird was a Fletched FVW. The other pigeon was a son of Andy Milligan’s Real Deal that Billy bought at a sale of Andy Milligan’s. The Blue Cheq hen “Libby” a winner of 3rd Open NIPA Rosscarbery National has now been retired to the stock loft.
The stock birds are paired at the end of December and the race team at the end of January. Leo and Billy were keen to thank Connor McManus for several pigeons that have played a major part in their success. The major part of their mixtures come from the Frazer Family andBilly finds Neill Frazer very helpful on what to feed at important times of the year. The other mixtures come from June and Robert Kirkwood the Gem Stockist.
The old birds are flown widowhood and they have a number of hens on straight widowhood. Training would start about four weeks before the first race, weather permitting. They suffered a bad toss from across the Border with YB’s with a few missing. Billy and Leo thought they would struggle with YB’s but this was not the case as the results were terrific. Billy’s thoughts on this bad toss – maybe it sorted them out and those lost were not any good. 2012 has been a season to remember for the Shamol Lofts of Bingham & Seaton. Irish Rover