Willenhall Flying Tippler Society loses its oldest member
Albert Harshorne, aged 99 years, died on the 3rd of April 1998. Albert was a life member of the N.T.U. and honoured member of the Willenhall Club. During his working life, Albert was a miner. He was a tippler fancier most all of his life, and friend of Wilf Lovatt, the first man to fly 20 hours. He first met Wilf in 1937, and over the years Albert supplied Wilf with a lot of pigeons that he flew big times with, including one in the 20 hour kit. I would say it was albert who developed the so called "Lovatt" breed of pigeon. Albert in most cases bred them and Lovatt flew them. When the big time flyers were finished, they returned to Albert to breed off. Albert flew in competitions in the early years, but his greatest pleasure was trying to improve the breed and to let others fly them. He knew exactly the type of pigeon he liked, and bred to achieve them. He liked self colours, prints, black mottles and greys, they had to be short in the leg and beak. His other great love was the Jack Russell dog. Albert was a man who never had a bad word to say about anyone, always making everyone welcome and took great pleasure showing his pigeons to anyone who called.
United with is wife in God's big aviary in the sky. Rest in Peace -- Roy Dowen
Albert Harshorne, Life Member N.T.U.
I was introduced to Mr. Hartshorn by Cliffe Clarke, at the time I was a novice and found it very interesting to hear stories of old time tipplers flyers, in-particular Wilf Lovatt, who was a close friend of Albert's and was the first man ever to record a time of 20 hours in the N. T. U. Albert played a fundamental role in the cultivation of the breed, we recognise today as the Lovatt type. He gave me two pair of stock birds and eight young birds to get me started in tipplers. I was a private member at the time and frequent visits to Albert's was an inspiration. With his birds I won the Novice Cup and the following year recorded my first time over 19 hours.
Albert helped many fanciers with his birds: Jim Johnson, who has flown 20 hours plus; P. Green; Ray and Mick Tift; and C. Clarke who broke the young bird World Record in 1982, to name but a few. Although a fantastic age of 99 years old, he enjoyed following the results of the flyers he had given birds to. It's ironic that on the weekend of his passing, three out of the four first places in the N. T. U. were took by fanciers flying Albert's birds.
A meeting of the Willenhall Tippler Club was held on the day of Albert's funeral and there was a three minute silence in honour and memory of Mr. Harshorne by the members.
A. Hartshorne, C. Clarke and A. Cresswell with the Novice Cup