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Homing pigeon who missed the mark ? by 5,000 miles

A homing pigeon hitched a ride on a boat during a race across the English Channel – and ended up in South Africa.

The bird missed its finishing line by a 5,000 miles and was found in a diamond mine near Cape Town.

Its owner, Henry Sinfield, 79, from South Normanton, Derbyshire, was shocked when, three weeks after the race, he got a call from South Africa saying that his prized bird had been found. Itwas taking part in a race from Fourgeres, in France, on 8 June, and was supposed to return to Mr Sinfield's home. It was one of nine swept off course by a storm.

Mr Sinfield said the bird was now being treated like royalty by pigeon fanciers in South Africa. A miner contacted the South African National Homing Pigeon Organisation, whose secretary will become the pigeon's new owner. Mr Sinfield said: "We decided it would take too long to bring her home as she would have to go through quarantine."