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History of the Crested Budgerigar Club

Although the Crested Budgerigar Club was inaugurated in 1962, the actual foundation stone was laid two years earlier when Alan Fullilove, then residing at Feltham, Middlesex, read an interesting article in "Cage Birds" by Squadron Leader S.A. Lucksford about his experiences in breeding with Crested Budgerigars.  Alan was quite taken by it and began to correspond with the Squadron Leader.  After a while this developed into a breeding partnership which lasted until Mr. Lucksford retired from the Service.  They were both intrigued with the strange and mysterious way the crest gene reproduced itself (see Chapter 5, on Crest Genetics) and with the tremendous variety of its manifestations.  In this interest they were joined by several others.

At that time Alan was involved with the Pied Budgerigar Society which was growing in popularity.  This gave him the idea to try and form a similar society for the Crests.  However, interest in Crests was very small compared with that in pieds and quite a lot of preparation was needed before a Club for Crests could ever get off the ground.  There were also two major difficulties to surmount that were not found with any other budgerigar variety.  One was that comparatively few Crests could be bred from any one suitable pair.  This restricted the number available to meet any potential demand.  The other was that it was necessary to overcome the prejudice against crests that many people in the fancy held, without adequate foundation.  Some talked of lethal genes, feather malformity, inbred French Moult and other horrors when referring to Crests.  Those at the top end of the fancy went on about how "budgies heads looked so much better and more natural without crests!".  Of course these people would have lost much of their investment in big-headed budgerigars if Crests had really taken off and become a craze, but they need not have worried!

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Even so, the consensus of Budgerigar Society General Council opinion was against any form of recognition for Crests as Alan learnt when he wrote up to the Budgerigar Society Secretary.  However, they did at least, amend a show rule in 1973 to allow, if required, separate classes for non-standardised varieties at Budgerigar Society patronage shows.  This, of course, opened the door for Crests to be seen at the shows in classes of their own.  It was not until eleven years later that the Budgerigar Society accorded any recognition to Crests as a budgerigar variety and agreed to standardise it.

By early 1962 Alan was in communication with a handful of Crest enthusiasts, most of them were not big names in the fancy and therefore quite beyond-the-pale in the budgerigar world.  Nevertheless, these, (including Cyril Rogers and Harry Williams, Secretary of the Pied B.S.), gave much encouragement to Alan in his desire to start a club for Crests.  When Alan advertised his own and S.A. Luckford's birds for sale, to all those who replied he sent a letter asking for support for the proposed club.  Of course, those who wrote back to express interest got the crested birds of their choice while those who did not, got other birds or none!  By the summer of 1962 there were about 12 or so names on file promising support, not many but an adequate base for expansion.  So after consulting Cyril Rogers, who had a very strong interest in the whole idea, Alan had an announcement inserted in "Cage & Aviary Birds" of 20th September concerning the formation of the Club, with a closing date for founder-members to join by 20th October.  Gradually the applications came, but not very many, and by the final date Alan clocked the 26th member who turned out to be the redoubtable Charles Kerry of Nottingham.

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However, most of those who joined admitted they had no Crests and more or less expected the Club to help to get some for them if their membership was to continue.  So the first few months were spent trying to meet this need with the Sales & Wants Service.  The leading members rallied round magnificently, notably S.A. Lucksford, K.P. Pugh and J.H. Pincombe. 

It had been decided to have the first Annual General Meeting in March 1963, at the Caxton Hall, London, but when the great day came, all that could be mustered was a total number of seven!  A most disappointing start.  It subsequently turned out that for many years afterwards the attendance at A.G.M.s seldom exceeded ten or so and yet the Club still did well.  However, one woman who came to this first meeting with grandiose schemes for fund-raising and social-get-togethers was so visibly disappointed at the small number present that she left as soon as she decently could and has never been heard of since.  Ah, if only her faith had held a little longer!

For the first year Cyril Rogers was elected President, a post he has held until 1993, in which capacity he distinguished himself by his fatherly counsel to members and profound interest in the welfare of Crests.  Ken Pugh was elected as Chairman with John Pincombe as Secretary-Treasurer and Alan Fullilove as Assistant Secretary (because of his deafness).  Alan also edited the first Crested Budgerigar Club journal called "The C.B.C. Newsletter" which was a four-page folder to start with but became the famous "Crested Chronicle" of later years.

One of the first historical milestones was the drafting of the first-ever written standard for the Crested Budgerigar by the President, Cyril Rogers.  This had substantially the same wording as it has today with some minor alterations.  Thus right from the first we nailed our colours to the mast by distinguishing the three different types of crest.  I mention this because there were many in the fancy who considered the Full-Circular type as the only complete crest with the other two only being intermediate forms and not true types.  As the experience of later years proved, our conviction in the three phenotypes of crest was justified.

However, our first Secretary, John Pincombe proved to be of a restless nature and after only five months in office decided to emigrate to Australia and blow everything.  A local friend of his, Len Jones, agreed to be caretaker Secretary until someone more committed could be found.  This person was Roger Shea, also of Feltham, who was full of enthusiasm for Crests.  It was then decided there was a need for a Patronage Secretary to be responsible for the show side of the Club.  This position was filled by Charles N. Kerry, who distinguished himself in this capacity for four years and laid the foundation for the C.B.C. patronage service as it is today.  In 1965 Ken Pugh gave up Crests to get married so a new Chairman was needed and who should come along to fill this position at exactly the right moment but Bede Mullen of Maidstone.  He had been show manager at the Maidstone CBS open show the previous year.  He had been so captivated by the sight of those Crests placed in his charge that he felt he would like to "have a go" with them and thus he was doubly welcome.  Under his benevolent reign, the Club reached new heights of popularity and prestige and for nine years had the benefit of his wise counsel and leadership.

When Roger Shea had to leave us to take up further studies, Bede was able to recommend his friend Fred Piggott for his post.  At last the Club was established.  The following few years (1967-72) was to become the "Golden Age" of the Club.  The appearance on the scene of Crest enthusiasts like Doug Batchelor, Cein Roberts, Ron Storr and Percy Woodhouse who, together with Bede and Fred, really established Crests at the shows and confounded all the sceptics who said that Crests would never make it.  They blazed the trail for Crests up and down the land in a spirit of friendly rivalry that was heart-warming to see.  It can be said that, without their efforts in these vital early years, the C.B.C. would have fizzled out just as other clubs for other budgerigar varieties with limited appeal and membership have done.  Those who remember them will never forget!

When the C.B.C. patronage scheme for shows was first launched, the number of shows to which patronage could be granted had to be restricted.  Thus in the first year (1963) there were only three patronage shows to worry about; but the number steadily grew each year until 1970 when practically all those who applied received CBC patronage.  This meant that there were at least some crests on view at each show which went a long way to maintain interest in Crests on the showbench during the early years.  To increase the interest of members in showing, points trophies over all patronage shows were introduced for each type of crest.  These were soon followed by trophies for the Club Show in each year.  This show was usually held in conjunction with the last patronage event of the season until in 1970 when it became part of the Budgerigar Society Club Show, with which it has remained ever since.

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Best Crest Young Bird 2005
BS Club Show -G & J Al-Nasser

Ron Storr, who took over from Charles Kerry as Patronage Secretary in 1969, was an artist of no mean ability.  He not only designed the club badge but also drew his version of the Pictorial Ideal for each type of crest.  These ideals received C.B.C. approval as they were a more definite guide for judges than the written Standards on their own.  We discovered that few judges were referring to the Standards, preferring to put size and type of bird first with the quality of crest hardly being considered at all.  However, it was not until 1973 that the Crest came into its own, following agreement with the Budgerigar Society for the present Pictorial Ideals.  The ideals have also been of value in helping the judges to identify the crests correctly.  There had been instances of Tufts being incorrectly wrong-classed as Half-Circulars and vice versa and even of one Tufted being acclaimed, at one event, as Best Circular Crest.

Another sore point with the Budgerigar Society, was the issuing by the C.B.C. of its own closed rings to members who were not B.S. members for them to use on their crests in Breeder classes.  B.S. panel judges refused to judge Crests in Breeder classes that had C.B.C. rings.  When challenged on this point, the CBC made it plain that Crests were as yet unrecognised by the Budgerigar Society for exhibition purposes and thus did not come within B.S. Show Rules.  Some did not agree and several of these contacted the B.S. Secretary who told them to go along with this distinction for the time being.  On the other hand members were quite happy to allow B.S. rung birds in C.B.C.  Breeder classes and a motion at one of our A.G.M.s to change this situation was defeated.  Of course, when the C.B.C. eventually became an Associate Member of the Budgerigar Society there was less need for C.B.C. rings which had served their purpose.

The historic meeting that the representatives from the different specialist societies had with the Budgerigar Society in 1970 did a lot to raise the status of the C.B.C. in the eyes of the fancy at large.  Many benefits were obtained from this liaison with the Budgerigar Society.  The only thing not achieved was Challenge Certificates at Championship Shows but this was to be considered later if support for crests continued to develop.

1971 marked the zenith of the CBC popularity and influence.  Members were having a good time together in sharing experiences and problems with Crests and in friendly rivalry on the showbench.  Doug Batchelor, of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex was Editor and produced a wonderful "Crested Chronicle" three times a year that was full of Crest news and information, was a joy to read and has never since been equalled.  It was with great regret that his services were lost in 1972 when he had to retire from the fancy for health reasons and Alan Fullilove had to take over temporarily.

In fact from 1972 onwards quite a few of the first wave of our Club stalwarts were lost for different personal reasons.  It then became necessary to rely on the general spread of membership to keep the flag flying for the C.B.C. at the shows.  Ron Storr was succeeded by Tony Draycott as Patronage Secretary in 1973 and was joined by his wife Merle in 1979 and to Tony's credit remained in the post until 1987 when they were succeeded by Mick Baker who has been in the post ever since.

Alan Fullilove had to take over from Fred Piggott as Secretary in 1974 with Les Acott helping as Treasurer.  But who took on the post of Publicity Officer from Percy Woodhouse in 1973 was of great importance to the Club.  This marked the entrance of Ghalib Al-Nasser into the world of Crests.  He took on the post of Assistant Secretary from Alan and progressed so well in this capacity that he was able to take over as Secretary two years later, in 1976, while Alan returned to his old post.  It was chiefly due to Ghalib's efforts and perseverance that Crests were able to have their own Challenge Certificates, first at Area Society in 1977 and then at all Championship events in 1983.  Ghalib was also responsible for producing the current Pictorial Ideals of the three types of crests.  These ideals, which were approved by the C.B.C. and recognised by the Budgerigar Society in 1974, appeared on the cover of the last Handbook.  They are the three types of crests drawn on the previous B.S. Ideal Budgerigar and are shown within the content of this Handbook.

In 1975, Bede Mullen retired as Chairman and for his valued services was made the first Life-Member of the Club.  His place was taken by Ron Bissell who, with his experience of the fancy, proved a real friend in need.  After a while Les Acott, who had rendered signal service as Treasurer, had to retire and an admirable successor was found in Tony Flint.  Up to then the Club's financial balance had always been low, usually only in two figures due to low membership and fees, but since then it has much improved, mainly due to Tony's acumen and economies.  Tony stayed as Treasurer until 1984 when he was succeeded by Dave Carter.

In the meantime Mark Freeman had relieved Alan of editing the "Chronicle" in 1975.  After three years Mark was finding difficulty in coping so Ghalib Al-Nasser and Mike Clements took over jointly for one year with Mike eventually assuming full responsibility in 1979.  However, Mike stayed as the Editor for the next four years, but eventually had to retire from his post due to business commitments.  This post was filled by David Nicholls in 1983.  David, Mike and Mark before him, had not only edited but also printed the "Chronicle" every time it came out and the Club was grateful for all their efforts.

In 1978 Ron Bissell had to resign as Chairman due to his other commitments to the fancy (he was soon to be B.S. President for one year) but agreed to change places with Colin Shead, the Vice-Chairman, who had formed a breeding partnership with Mike Clements.  Colin worked hard as Chairman and together with Ghalib established the C.B.C. on a sound footing.  But, in 1982, he had to leave the fancy for health reasons but, by that time, Ron Bissell was in a better position to resume being Chairman.  Just prior to that, Alan Fullilove, who had been Assistant Secretary for sixteen years, retired from the fancy and was made a Life-Member for his long service.  In January 1979 Ghalib had to sell all his birds but stayed active within the Club until he resumed bird keeping again in November 1982.

In 1984 Tony Flint stepped down from the Treasurer's post and this post was filled by Dave Carter. But only 18 months in the post he was sacked at a special Committee Meeting held in November 1985 at the B.S. Club Show due to financial reasons.  Also at that meeting Ghalib Al-Nasser announced his wish to retire from the post of General Secretary/Publicity Officer after 10 years in the post.

Three new officers were elected at the 1986 AGM, namely Ghalib Al-Nasser as Chairman, Joan Nicholls as Secretary and Grant Findlay as Treasurer.  Both Ghalib and Grant are still in their respective positions.  1987 was the Silver Jubilee Year of the Club and a luncheon celebration was held in July at Leicester where many members attended.  Joan Nicholls donated a "Presidential Chain of Office" which the Club had never had and this was presented to the President Cyril Rogers at that special lunch.

For health reasons Joan resigned from her office soon after and she was succeeded by Richard & Shirley Risebrow as joint Secretaries.  David Nicholls was succeeded by Steve Thomas as editor at the 1988 AGM and he was followed by Mike Clements in 1990 with Donald Bruton as his Assistant.  Mike Berry took the editorship in 1995.  One more change to occur in 1993 was when Richard & Shirley Risebrow were succeeded by Chris Hawkins as the 10th General Secretary of the Club.

At the 1993 A.G.M. Ghalib Al-Nasser was made President; only the second after Cyril Rogers who had held the post since 1962.  The Club suffered the sad loss of Cyril Rogers on 27th July 1993 at the age of 85 years.  The C.B.C. donated a trophy to the B.S. Club Show in his memory for Best Crest Young Bird.

Ghalib Al-Nasser gave a year's notice at the 1995 AGM that he wished to retire from the Chairmanship and President at the 1996 AGM making him the longest serving officer the Club had ever had with 10 years as Secretary and a further 10 years as Chairman.

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