LESSONS in pigeon racing will be coming to a Saddleworth primary school as more youngsters are encouraged to get involved with the sport.

Diggle Primary School has received funding of £1,000 from the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) which will enable it to build a pigeon loft in its school grounds.

The money will provide Diggle Primary School with the necessary materials, tools and expertise to construct and manage the loft.

The project is spearheaded by Diggle Primary School teacher and keen pigeon fancier, Chris Ryan, who liaised closely with the RPRA to get the project off the ground.

Chris has also approached Manchester Flying Club and the Shaw and District Homing Society, both of whom have offered free races for the school for the first 12 months of participation.

Chris said: “I’ve been involved with pigeon racing all my life, so I know firsthand how the sport can bring countless benefits into children’s development.

“After initially speaking to the head teacher and explaining the educational possibilities associated with pigeons, the pigeon loft got the green light and we’ve not looked back since.

“As a rural school, we’re really excited to start introducing the children to pigeon racing and educating them about this historic pastime.”

Pupils are currently in the process of building the pigeon loft and hope to start pigeon racing soon.

The funding is part of a wider campaign by the RPRA which is being rolled out across the country to encourage more youngsters to get involved with the sport.

It is designed to make the hobby more accessible and lessen the financial pressures on the schools getting involved.

Ian Evans, general manager at the RPRA, said: “Getting children involved with pigeon racing at a young age gives them a great sense of responsibility.

“In addition, interacting with the birds helps them to develop essential skills which simply cannot be experienced in the classroom.

“In the past we have run similar campaigns which have been a great success with school children, so we’re hoping we achieve the same results with this campaign.”

The RPRA is also offering young people the chance to sign up for a membership if they are interested in getting involved with pigeon racing. There are competitions specifically for young members and those involved will receive discounts to a number of shows

Any schools which are interested in getting involved and applying for funding from the RPRA for their own lofts should contact Ian Evans and 01452-858 240.