Holt Park Budgerigars

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My name is Tony Poole, I live in the suburb of Holt Park in North West Leeds, West Yorkshire and as those who know me will no doubt agree I am no ‘shrinking violet’. In fact I have been described as a ‘brash Yorkshireman’ on more than one occasion, which is probably not a bad description of me, I call a spade a spade.

Me (left) with my two good friends
David Boyd & Gary Bird

I have been married to Janice (Jan) since 1976, although we have been together since 1969 but we waited until Jan had finished her nursing training before getting married/.

We have two sons, Gareth and Glenn, who in turn have Sophie, Joseph and Matthew for Gareth and his wife Lyndsey and Brooke, Ryder and Austin for Glenn and partner Katrina. 

The grand children are the focal points of our lives and like most grandmas and granddads they have us wrapped around their little fingers.

Jan with Mac our young Border Collie

Until the end of 2012 Jan and I worked together in our small training and consultancy business where I was a Health and Safety Consultant and trainer and Jan did moving and handling training for commercial businesses and care homes, she also provided other forms of nursing related training that we developed.


I came back into the hobby in 2012 after a break of over thirty years and some people will already know me or perhaps know of me through my former ‘One Man and his Blog’ postings on the Exhibition Budgerigar Forum (EBF) Blog Section and some may even remember me from the distant past, although I doubt many will. So for those who don’t have a clue who I am let me introduce myself and give you some background information.


Due to disabilities I am no longer able to work and Jan and I are almost always seen together as I don’t drive these day’s because of these disabilities and she and my mate Mick Levett who is also a budgerigar breeder drive me everywhere.


As I was growing up I was very fortunate in that I lived very close to a very well known breeder of the day, Phil Keep and I had a mate who lived in the street behind Phil’s which was accessible through a small ‘ginnel’ at the side of Phil’s house. Whenever I was going to my mates’ house I would climb on Phil’s fence and look over in amazement at the birds in the outside flights.


My first introduction to my own birds was when my mum and dad bought me a pair of budgies from what was known as ‘Pet’s Row’ in Leeds Kirkgate Market. At that time it seemed to me that you could buy almost anything and everything to do with animals there, from a tortoises’ to stick insect, kittens, puppies and lots of different varieties of birds, you name it and it was there. I am not sure if they bought me a breeding cage or if this was a homemade affair, probably the latter, but what I do remember is that for a time it was kept in a corner of our large kitchen.


I eventually moved into an ‘aviary’ for want of a better word that my dad had built and it was a real ‘Heath Robinson’ affair, but it did the job for me for many years. It eventually had an electricity supply to it providing lighting and a tubular heater which replaced the old ‘Tilly’ lamps and paraffin heater that I had.


What has to be rememberef is that it wasn’t like it is today, you couldn’t just go on to the computer and find a breeder to go buy birds from. Everything was done either at club level, at the shows or through the Cage & Aviary Birds adverts.


I think it was in the Cage and Aviary Birds that I found the details for Leeds BS and that would be in the late 60's or early 1970’s, it was about this time that I met Ronnie Simpson who many will know from his involvement with the BS Club Show and more lately as BS Jnr Vice President of the Society, maybe I would be one of the old guard if I had stayed in the hooby...... who knows.


In the mid to late 70’s Ronnie and I were security Stewards at the Club Show when it was held at the Grandby Halls in Leicester and Arthur Dexter was charge of the Security at the Club Show. I remember Geoff Capes coming to look around for whaat I believe was his first visit to the Club Show and Ghalib Al-Nasser was exhibiting 'Recessive Pieds' against Margaret Schofield (now there's a name from the past).


In the late seventies the YBS were running what was called the ‘C’ Panel Judges Training scheme which was run with the intention of getting more judges onto the circuit. Some of today’s top breeders and judges were also on this scheme.


I liked the Pied mutations even then, although at that time it was the Recessives Pied and not the Dominant as it is now, that I was breeding and exhibiting, much I may add to the disgust of many and I still get ‘ribbed’ about this to this day by Ronnie Simpson.


When I started back in the hobby it was with the sole intention of only wanting a few pairs of pet type to breed and sell. That theory went out of the window when I met Gary Bird from Goole in the East Riding of Yorkshire who along with Phil and Vikki Hickling answered my request for a couple of ‘cock birds’ when I asked for help on the EBF. Gary along with his ex partner Nick Allwood helped me introduce a good quality of bird into my shed and provided me with my foundation Light Green cock and other birds.

Gary is someone who I consider as a very good friend to both Jan and I and he always has time to help me out whenever I need it.

Another friend who mentioned previously is Leeds BS member Mick Levett who amongst other things like collecting the seed and carrying it in for me also picks me up and takes me to the Society meetings and often accompanies when I visit other fanciers to do my 'In the Spotlight' feature for the Yorkshire Budgerigar Society magazine 'Budgie Bits'.