A PIGEON racing club which has been running for almost 100 years is preparing their flock for this year’s trip to France.

The Barnsley Federation of Racing Pigeons, based in Royston, have been busy auctioning off baby pigeons which will be trained to participate in this year’s races, which will take place in September.

The race will begin in Carentan, France, and the pigeons fly 500 miles back to their home in the UK, taking them about seven hours.

There are 50 cash prizes up for grabs and the winners are chosen based on which pigeon arrives home in the quickest time.

John Woods, secretary of the Barnsley Federation of Racing Pigeons, said: “There will be nine auctions altogether to sell off the pigeons

“The baby pigeons learn to fly at three weeks and get used to their lofts. Following that we teach them to race two miles, five miles, ten miles and so on.

“About 3,000 pigeons participate in the race from France and they are all released at the same time. People place bets which go into a pot and then people win monetary prizes.

“I’ve been racing pigeons since I was 11 years old and it’s a shame to see that this sport is dying. We are keen to welcome new members.”

Anyone interested can contact the secretary, John Greenfields, on Facebook.