For many years I attended the G.Y.A. annual reunion held at Leeds and sponsored by that great Yorkshire fancier Mr. O.I. Wood of Ilkley. He was also a born fancier and a great host and he presided over many historic gatherings which were attended by many of the best fanciers in the four countries. Many very instructive discussions were arranged on all angles of the sport and interesting points were elucidated at such times. Mr. Wood was a Gurnay specialist and regarded M.R. Gurnay as the greatest fancier of his time. He was an intimate friend of M. Gurnay and on one occasion I went with him and Mr. Jack Barrett to visit that great fancier at Verviers. M. Gurnay was very successful especially at the middle distances and he had a really beautiful type of pigeon, which I was informed owed it origin to the old Hansenne family. He was the soul of hospitality and we all enjoyed the trip very much indeed.
Mr. Wood’s stock centered largely around “Young Hawk” who was a great winner and very successful stock cock. He was a medium-sized black cheq. with perfect wing qualities and a beautiful violet eye. In addition to the Gurnays, Mr. Wood, to the last, retained some of the old Stanhope blood from his old friend Billy Pearson; they did yeoman service for him in the long distance races. Again Mr. O. I. Wood’s place in the Leeds area will be difficult to fill but I hope his very good friend, mr. Jack Barrett of Rawdon, will continue the good work with the “Young Hawk” blood.
from Squills' Diary, 1935, "Belgium's Best Lofts" by Dr. W. Anderson
"In July 1934 I had the pleasure of making my annual pilgrimage to Belgium along with Mr. O. I. Wood, of Ilkeley, and Mr. Jack Barrett, of Leeds- two of the best fanciers I have had the privilege of knowing and, in addition, two of my best friends. We had previously arranged with M. Jules Maesenaere, of Zarren, to accompany us. We visited only a few of the best lofts, but we made a point of spending a considerable time at each, and of acquiring as much knowledge as possible in the time at our disposal.
We were greatly struck with the quality of the birds at the following lofts-viz. M. Stassart, Dr. Bricouxm M. Tremmery, M. Deville, and M. Gurnay. In previous articles I have dealt fully with the lofts of M. Paul Sion, Dr. Bricoux, M. Stassart and M. Duray, and on this occasion it seems more fitting to break fresh ground and to discuss the lofts of the other fanciers mentioned" (pg. 31).
"M. Gurnay, of Verviers. - This was my first visit to this famous fancier, but Mr. Wood and Mr. Barrett had visited him on several occasions and were old friends. We had a wonderful reception and spent a most enjoyable day. The birds here were splendidly housed above his business premises. I was particularly struck by the wonderful control he exercised over his pigeons. He had had a good season and did well in many of the middle-distance races, also in long races as far as San Sebastian.
The type of bird I noticed was about the medium size and decidedly smaller than the majority of the Gurnay's which I have handled in England. The predominating colour is Black Chequer. The birds have good head properties with beautiful eyes, are low set and possess excellent feather. His management, especially as regards the widowhood system, is well known to the British fancy and has been copied with advantage by some of the most prominent fanciers in England.
We had dinner with M. Gurnay and he regaled us with reminiscences of his early days in the sport and of his long association with the great M. Alexander Hansenne. It was interesting to learn that Hansenne was a baker, and kept his pigeons in a very dry loft over his bakehouse. In this connection I could not help recalling the fact that M. Blampain, one of the old Belgian National winners, was also a baker - and M. Maurice Ameel, of Brussels, one of the present middle-distance champions; and also M. Oomens, Dutch champion.
I asked M. Gurnay about Red Chequers amongst the Hansenne's, and he informed me that to his certain knowledge ther had been birds of this colour in Hansenne's loft. This information will no doubt be interesting to those fanciers who, like myself, were of the opinion that Hansenne had no Red Chequers. Hansenne's method of introducing a cross in several instances was rather unique-if he fancied a bird or birds in any particular loft he endeavoured to purchase the entire collection, thereafter he retained the particular birds he required and destroyed the remainder. Under such circumstances he never informed the fancier which birds he desired and which he retained" (pg.32-33).