The stereotype of a pigeon racer is a working class man – probably a miner – with his birds housed in his loft, or at the end of the garden. His wife makes the tea and if she’s very unlucky, clears out the droppings. Nowadays pigeon racing is big business and is attracting increasing numbers of women – many of them top racers. Nearly seven thousand of the country’s forty thousand pigeon racers are female – the cost of a top of the range loft can set you back tens of thousands of pounds and teachers, doctors and academics are taking up the sport. Many of them attended the ‘British Homing World Show of the Year.’ Judy Merry spoke to sixteen year old Kirsty from Bradford who’s just starting out and to Violet Mathers from Barnsley who’s been racing pigeons for half a century.