Dennis Ford (Blaenavon, Wales) is the man with the Midas touch.
There is one man that stands out head and shoulders above all others in Wales for his unique performances at national level and that is Dennis Ford of Blaenavon, Wales. His tally of national wins now stands at 13 and with almost as many 2nd National wins it is little wonder Dennis is regarded as the man with the “Midas Touch” as he has achieved this single handed over a ten-year period. Having said that the “Golden Years” in his unique series of national wins occurred between 2006 and 2012 when no less than 11 x 1st nationals were achieved flying the south route into Wales.
Dennis Ford was Welsh South Road national champion for four years running (2007-2010). My very first contact with Dennis was in 2006 when I travelled to see him as Welsh South Road national secretary and scribe after he won 2nd WSR National Alnwick. I remember travelling over the beautiful mountainous terrain from Brynmawr towards Blaenavon which brought back fond memories of my early surveying days when I worked for Glamorgan County Council and carried out site inspections in this area. When I arrived at Elgam Avenue, Blaenavon I was not to be disappointed as Dennis had converted an area of ground into what could only be described as a pigeon paradise with wonderful views and all “mod cons” that truly endeared you to the place. These included a television, microwave, refrigerator and telephone all surrounded by beautiful flower borders and well-kept lawns. Little did I realise at the time that over the next six years Dennis would achieve immortal fame for his magnificent, breathtaking performances flying at national level. After his retirement from “British Aerospace” he really became a professional pigeon flyer but he never neglected his club duties (he has been club secretary for 30 years until recently) or his family who have always supported his hobby.
At the time of my visit (and I dont believe a lot has changed since) the birds were flown on the roundabout system. The boxes are opened for 30 minutes for the cocks and then have their hens for 2 or 3 minutes before basketing. Only cheap farm food is used and the birds are hopper fed peas and beans. However being a corn connoisseur of the past I knew there was more to it than that and Dennis confided in me that he does add half a cup of his special mix every mealtime. Although I did not ask him for the breakdown I could see two different types of maize as well as a range of seed mixtures. Johnson`s tonic is used once a week, as well as glucose and electrolytes.
Dennis started flying with his father Tommy Ford in 1962 but after his father passed away in the early 1990s he started to compete under his own name in 1997. The very next year Dennis won a national from Messac in 1998. Then on the north road he won a 1st National from Crieff in 2002. The purple patch started in 2006 when he was 1st Chale YB National, followed the following year 2007 by two OB national wins from Picauville and Lessay. In 2008 Dennis once again astounded the Welsh fancy by yet again winning three Welsh nationals from Messac and Saintes OBs and from Picauville YBs. To put the icing on the cake, he also won 1st Open BICC National against all the odds and many thought this performance was the best in the UK that year. This was followed by 1st National Tours and 1st National Bergerac in 2009. Yet another WSR National was won in 2011 from Messac. Then to make it 13 national wins, he was 1st and 2nd Tours National 2012. What is truly remarkable is that this series of national wins covers the shortest from Chale (111 miles) and then every stage to the longest from Tarbes (608 miles). Winner of the 1st WSR National from Messac in 2011
The main families housed in the lofts are Lambert & Davies Grizzles, Janssens, Westcotts and Tuplin Barkers. Dennis also seems to have a knack of bringing out the best of birds presented to him, as for example chequer cock Champion Seren (Star in Welsh) Eleven bred by John Williams of Phillipstown which won 1st WSR National Bergerac 506 miles in 2009 and was also 3rd National Saintes in the same year winning the Gold Cup. The previous year Champion Seren Eleven was 2nd National Bergerac when there was only one bird clocked on the day into Wales.
Champion Seren Eleven was bred by John Williams and raced by Dennis Ford. The pigeon won 1st & 2nd National Bergerac (506 mls), 3rd National Saintes (431 mls) and the Gold Cup for best WSR National pigeon 2009. Success in the face of adversity Dennis is a quiet, modest, unassuming man who has been fighting cancer for the last nine years but this has not stopped him going to his loft each morning at 5 a.m. and he is indeed a true inspiration to all who know him.
Report by David John 28/03/2013
Dennis with his 2nd National Bordeaux winner in 2012, Dennis Two
Unfortunately Dennis Ford passed away later in 2013