SADLY MISSED: Cockfield Federation’s former secretary of 55 years, Trevor Peairs, has passed away aged 81
SADLY MISSED: Cockfield Federation’s former secretary of 55 years, Trevor Peairs, has passed away aged 81

THE pigeon racing world in the dale has reached the end of an era with the death of a former Cockfield Federation stalwart.

Trevor Peairs, of Butterknowle, who was known as “The Fed Man”, was the federation’s secretary until his 80th birthday in 2017, when he finally called it a day after 55 years.

Sadly, Mr Peairs passed away on July 23 aged 81. He was the much-loved husband of Maureen, dad to Susan and Kevin, father-in-law to Lenny and Julie, brother to Audrey and Margaret and grandad to Joseph.

Family, friends and members of the homing world gathered at St John’s Church, in Lynesack, for his funeral which was held on August 2.

Born in 1936, Mr Peairs grew up at Copley Bent. He met his wife Maureen at Cockfield pictures and they got married on June 14, 1958.

The couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary this year and received a special card from the queen.

His father, Harry, introduced him to pigeon racing as a young boy. His name has been carried through the years by Mr Peairs and now by his son, Kevin, who is carrying on the family tradition.

Kevin Peairs, 47, who lives in Cockfield, will continue to manage their 100-strong flock of racing and stock pigeons and continues to fly under the banner of H Peairs and Son.

He said: “He was a great dad and a great family man. We never wanted for anything. His family came first.

“After his family, the pigeons were first and foremost. It was not all about the competing side for him though, it was more about keeping everything right.”

The Butterknowle fancier took up the post of federation secretary in Cockfield at the age of 25 in 1961.

Being mathematically skilled, Mr Peairs was known to work out pigeon velocity in his head – a far cry from today’s computerised method – before sending the results into the Teesdale Mercury every week.

Having completed his National Service, Mr Peairs worked at Elliott Motor Supplies, in Bishop Auckland, before landing a job with the National Coal Board.

He later worked at Bishop Auckland General Hospital where he remained for 35 years before taking early retirement due to health reasons.

Mr Peairs enjoyed going to agricultural shows, pigeon shows and gardening, while a holiday to Scarborough was always something to look forward to near the end of the pigeon racing season each year. He was also an avid Sunderland AFC fan.

Kevin said: “In the later years he couldn’t do anything but I would still pick him up and he sat in the car and watched the birds.

“He loved the pigeons and he always looked forward to getting the result sheet from the fed every weekend. He loved looking at it and seeing how everyone was doing.

“Even in the hospital, the last words he could speak were about pigeons. He will be missed massively.”

Over the years, Mr Peairs triumphed with a number of racing successes, having won the West Durham Amalgamation title on several occasions with birds Joe's Pride, Stamina Lady and Maureen’s Star.

His biggest achievements were second place in the amalgamation out of Bourgeois, in France, in 2000; first place in the amalgamation out of Arras in France in 2002 and first place in the amalgamation at the young bird nationals in Maidstone in 2010.

Mr Peairs was also awarded one of pigeon racing’s top national honours after more than five decades of service to the sport.

The president of the West Durham Amalgamation, Alan Brown, made a special visit to Mr Peairs’ home in February 2017 to present him with the Major L Lewis Memorial Trophy.

The trophy is made to only one person each year by the Confederation of Long Distance Pigeon Racing Unions of Great Britain and Ireland.