Annual Trustees Report - 2012


Trustees present - Dr PP Lynch, George Pollock, Bill Frame, Ian Noble, , Andy Garven. Apol. Sam Mac Fadzen

Team - Dr Gavin Boyd, Dr Charles McSharry, Dr Ken Anderson , apol. Dr Stephen Bourke, Ken Boyd

Hosting Facilities - The Trustees thank the SHU and secretary Linda Brooks and staff for the excellent free hosting facilities provided at the AGM of the Trust in the SHU offices Wishaw, Lanarkshire

The Press Report on the RPRA BHW Show of the Year at Blackpool was approved for publication on the Website. The Show was as usual a very successful and busy research exercise and the Trustees were grateful to receive a cheque for £15,000 from the RPRA BHW Show Committee. The Trustees were sad to hear of the recent death of Brian Mead the longstanding Show committee Chairman and Research supporter. We were pleased to meet the new RPRA General Manager Stewart Wardrop and his efficient staff who ensured that the excellent Show location and the Research Stand's needs were freely provided
The activities of the research team at the Shows has been recognized by Universities as a desirable initial research experience and a unique practical training ground for young doctors which introduces them to the 'Research Ethos' at an early stage in their medical career.

Accounts ended 30th November 2011

The balance sheet (copy enclosed) was approved by the Trustees. It was expertly presented by George Pollock hon. Treasurer who highlighted the fact that financially we continue to live from year to year only. The RPRA BHW Show donation continues to be our major financial lifeline, without it we could not exist. We are also grateful for the regular and continued financial support from the SHU, SNFC and the NEHU and all individual fanciers and organisations who contribute from time to time. We are grateful to I.A. Stewart & Company, Chartered Accountants, New Lanark for their continued free services and Independent Examiners Report which is a mandatory regulation by the Scottish Charity Regulator - Ref SCO13181 The free donation of their time, enthusiasm and expertise by the senior members of the Research Team and the Trustees continues at no cost, is immeasurable and hence does not appear on this or any other balance sheet. On behalf of the Fancy the Trustees wish to thank the Team for their continued voluntary efforts on our behalf. The voluntary partnership of British pigeon fanciers and their research team in the research of pigeon lung and the service they provide to fanciers on the funds available, continues to our knowledge to be unequalled any where in the scientific or pigeon world and is a credit and testimony to the goodwill and charitable aims of British pigeon fanciers and their research team.

Pigeon Lung Advice Clinic

The Pigeon Lung advice clinic at Crosshouse Hospital Kilmarnock KA2 OBE continues weekly, albeit on a reduced budget under Dr Ken Anderson with telephone consultations and queries from fanciers and their doctors throughout the UK and beyond.. In most UK NHS hospitals the investigation results and in Scotland x-rays can now be transmitted electronically between specialists and consultants for review and second opinions. Dr Ken Anderson as one of our senior clinical consultants, continues to provide this facility at his hospital base for fanciers and colleagues with queries on pigeon lung - Tel.01563 827903 The Trustees approved the purchase of a Vitalograph (portable breathing assessment machine) for use at the clinic and at pigeon Shows.

Research Lab Activities

The Blackpool BHW Show of the Year blood test results have been sent out. The results will now be classified in 7 categories of degrees of reaction starting with negative then mild up to high instead of numbers. Some fanciers were being confused by a slight increase or slight fall in the number quoted a slight numerical change which has no relevance in medical terms. The Trust continues to pay half the salary of the research scientist, Glasgow University pays the other half. Our research scientist Iona Donnelly can be contacted at Tel.0141 330 1878 e-mail (e-mail contact is by far the best method)

Summary of activities during 2011 from Dr Charles McSharry our cons. Immunologist. Biomedical Research Centre Glasgow University.

The cause of pigeon lung remains elusive. There is no doubt it is an allergic reaction, but it is a delayed reaction occurring 4 to 6 hours after contact, the delayed reaction shows that many inter reactions are going on in the body before the symptoms and signs appear. One difficulty we have identified is that pigeon lung might not be one single entity there may be a genetic factor or other factors for example, keeping pigeons is associated with much worse lung disease in fanciers living in Mexico than anywhere else, yet there is hardly any problem at all reported in Portugal or Malta with similar good weather.
We think there are different disease types among the UK fanciers based on their symptom patterns. This variation may have been muddying the waters and making it difficult to identify a single cause, especially if it turns out that there are different factors involved in the cause. We are currently re-examining this aspect to see if there is a better fit of our blood test with different types or degrees of pigeon lung.

We have made some important observations recently that the blood test for antibody (pigeon reaction) is a useful screening test but not the full picture. Other factors are involved. We have found low blood vitamin D levels among pigeon fanciers who are sensitized but before we suggest supplementary vitamin D in the diet we want to confirm this finding this year. It is a fact that vitamin D levels are known to be surprisingly low in the UK especially in Scotland and the authorities have already recommended supplementation.

Another angle we are pursuing is the possible role of a particular blood cell called a monocyte. We have found that these are activated in the blood of fanciers who have symptoms. These are also the cells that can move into the lung when there is reaction or inflammation causing low oxygen perfusion making fanciers short of breath. These cells try to help and repair any inflammation, but when they over-react they can damage the delicate lung structure. We are currently reviewing how we can dampen down this over reactive monocyte cell activity.

Our research presented at Medical scientific meetings in Amsterdam and Leicester last year (all self funded as usual) were extremely well received. It is recognized and recorded by the Medical fraternity that the UK pigeon fanciers support for this research is unique and provides a wealth of information that is useful and relevant to understanding all lung diseases. This is one fact that British pigeon fanciers should be aware of and rightly proud.

Therapeutic Phase of The Research

At the moment , and as we have long advocated, the best method of combating pigeon lung is still prevention of pigeon dust entering the lungs by the use of an appropriate mask, cap and coat whenever with the pigeons especially when cleaning out. The therapeutic phase of the research is however providing much hope for the future The use of Statins (blood fat lowering medicaments) appears to have a beneficial effect in pigeon lung and the relevance of vitamin D levels is unfolding. The therapeutic phase of the research continues to be an exciting and promising milestone in the search for a remedy for pigeon lung.

Service to the Fancy throughout the year

As well as the weekly pigeon lung advice clinic the research team continue to be available to the Fancy throughout the year as a free service for advice and support - by telephone, by e -mail and by further communications via our website The trustees approved the token payment of £2,000 to the research coordinators Ken and Jane Boyd for the administration and coordination of the data bases relating to the Show blood results also the activities throughout the year including managing the website and coordinating the responses of the team members to the frequent questions asked by fanciers on our website in the role as webmaster.

The new shatter proof blood packs resourced and purchased from Royal Mail have continued to be a great success. They fulfil Health and Safety regulations both at home and abroad. We continue to provide the service of a free blood check for pigeon reaction in British fanciers and their families if there is a worry about health. The pack and blood test is free to all fanciers in the British Isles including Southern Ireland however some fanciers from further abroad now have to pay for the basic total cost of the blood pack and the blood test - approx. 50 dollars per test.. As the Trust is a non profit making registered charity this world wide service continues to be provided to our fellow pigeon fanciers abroad at basic cost including post only.

Thanks to all our supporters

The Trustees and Research Team are greatly encouraged and thankful for the support of British fanciers and their organisations especially the RPRA through their BHW Show of The Year, the SHU the SNFC and the NEHU for their regular annual donations and all the other pigeon fanciers and pigeon organisations who support us whenever they can. In truth this voluntary and charitable research activity by British pigeon fanciers and their research team is unique in the international pigeon world and much envied in the scientific one. Our joint efforts on a limited budget enables us to continue to search for a cure for pigeon lung and in the same process strive to provide a service in support of the good health of all pigeon fanciers and their families. We thank you once again for your vital support and wish all pigeon fanciers and their families good health and every success in the forthcoming racing season.

Yours sincerely, Dr PP Lynch chair BPFMRT

The photo shows the Trustees of the BPFMRT standing from left to right Ian Noble president SHU, DR Charles McSharry, Dr Ken Anderson, Bill Frame, Andrew Garven secy. SNFC sitting George pollock treasurer, Dr PP Lynch Chair, Dr Gavin Boyd Medical Director.