NI teen named UK’s Young Pigeon Fancier of the Year

A 15-year-old girl from Co Down, who is set to star in her own CBBC documentary, has been named the UK’s Young Pigeon Fancier of the Year.

Keelie Wright, from Magheralin, is the third generation of her family to show a passion for pigeon racing and now takes care of 200 feathered friends.

“It gives me a great way to bond with my family,” she told UTV.

“Because I would spend all the time with my dad and granddad whenever I’m doing this.”

The teenager says the sport is not often associated with younger people, or indeed girls, but she hopes that more will consider getting involved.

“The sport is kind of dying out, so we need all the young people we can get to keep it going,” Keelie said, adding that it is a lot more work than many may realise though.

“You’re round at the lofts every day after school and on the weekends,” she explained.

“On Saturday, we spend the most time here because we have to do a deep clean of the whole lofts.”

Keelie added that while some of her friends “think it’s good and some think it’s weird”, they are all happy for success and support her in her hobby.

Keelie Wright with her awards for pigeon racing. Credit: Family photo

Her family are also full of pride that she has already eclipsed their previous successes.

“I’m just over the moon,” Eamon Wright, Keelie’s grandfather, said.

“Keelie has achieved what we never had achieved – now, we got our successes in winning races and showing pigeons, but to have a granddaughter receive the UK Young Pigeon Fancier of the Year put the icing on the cake.”

  • VIDEO: Reporter Sara O’Kane meets the UK’s Young Pigeon Fancier of the Year