Jetstream the pigeon lives up to name as it reigns in channel race
A pigeon named after the air current blamed for the second wettest summer in 100 years has been winning trophies for her owner in Radstock.
At the height of the rain last summer, Jetstream the pigeon flew 485 miles from the south of France to her Somerset home in 12-and-a-half hours, a speed of nearly 40mph.
That won the bird the South Road Combined Amalgamation Trophy, which is competed for by pigeon fanciers from all over the West Country.
Owner Tony Emery said: "I named her after the jetstream which everyone said was responsible for the rain last summer.
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"The Marmande race was held in July and it rained all day and night so it seemed appropriate."
Mr Emery, 78, became involved in the world of pigeon racing at the age of ten when he started to help his big brother who kept the birds in the garden of their home.
He said: "I was a schoolboy and used to clean the pigeons out for him and now 68 years later I am still looking after pigeons. It used to be a family thing."
Mr Emery, a member of the Midsomer Norton Pigeon Club, added: "You have to get the food and water just right to train a good bird. There has to be the right balance of nutrients and protein to get the best out of your pigeon.
He is a staunch defender of the breed against complaints that it is a pest.
Mr Emery said: "I know pigeons are not a popular bird and I get cross when people call them rats with wings but you have to remember what a vital part of the war effort they were.
" In the Second World War they were used to carry messages back and for.
"All RAF bombers carried pigeons and if a plane was forced to ditch, the pigeon was sent back to the RAF base with the coordinates of the aircraft taped to a leg so that the crew could be rescued."