I often used to say it is not what Tony says, it’s what Tony does.
When I first became membership secretary the club was using rather large green Membership cards. Tony set work with his printer and he changed them to a smaller more usable design with a clear plastic finish. This felt like a real step forward at the time.
He also was the first committee member to use a computer for club record keeping always keeping me up to date with new memberships and re-joiners. Many hours were spent together checking over the membership spreadsheets and databases.
British Cycling approached Tony to look after an Eastern European cycle race team in the early days of the Tour of Britain. He jointly ran the Anglia Sports Cycle Racing team travelling and organising the team to race around the southeast and further afield.
Tony was responsible for helping to develop The Jock Wadley Memorial Road Race into is early season UK classic status, acting as race organiser in its beginnings. It is now usually the first race of the season where the larger UK teams go to test their form for the upcoming season.
When Rovers club activities allowed Tony would take himself off around the region completing his British Cycling commissaire duties in many forms of cycling. He really spent many years of his life devoting his time to allow others to compete in the sport he loved.
As you can see from the picture above back in the 80’s Tony was a keen cyclocross rider and was part of the Rovers team. He also took on organiser status along with another Rover’s legend Neil Pear’s running the 1982 National School boys and girls cyclocross championship. His love for cyclocross continued in recent years where he organised at least one of the two annual Furze Hill, Mistley races leagues races for many years. Often clearing the course singlehanded for several weeks before the annual event.
Tony used to set out the Rovers racing calendar for the year and at the end of the season, he would workout rider placings including handicaps in the various club championships. He then sorted the annual prizes which included getting back all the trophies cleaning them and getting them to the engravers in time.
British Cycling awarded Tony the British Cycling badge of honour in 2002 for services to cycling. More recently at the 2017 Colchester Sports Awards, he was presented with the premier honour The Eric Chapman Award for Service to Sport.
Tony was Rover’s general secretary for more than 30 years, a loyal club mate, qualified masseur, and my good friend. May you rest in peace.
My everlasting memory of Tony will be of a behind the scenes man. The Tony, who knew where all the trophies were, who collected up those that had not been returned, who cleaned and polished those that had not been cared for, in time for the Club presentation evening.
Tony would have all the trophies, cleaned and shining on the table ready for the presentation, and when collected by the recipient he would also hand out the many cases of various dimensions to protect them and to transport them home safely.
Tony was a very important cog in the running of the club. His somewhat stern ‘expression’ belied the real club man that he was.
It is such sad news to hear of Tony’s passing and I shall remember him with nothing but fondness and thanks. From the first time I met Tony on my first ever club 10 Langham time trial, as a nervous newbie, Tony was a never-ending source of encouragement.
His wit and dry humour from that day onwards we had great banter together. He would always stop and chat, was an enormous fountain of knowledge and wisdom. His encouragement and dedication to Rovers members’ was incredible. I recall my first attempt at cyclocross and as I lined up in the pouring rain he was at the sideline, lent in and said to me ” go on girl, just give it all you have got, don’t worry about anyone else and enjoy it, you will be fine”. I crossed the finish line last in my group, having hugged a few trees, covered head to toe in mud. He made a beeline for me and gave me a huge slap on the back saying, what a great effort I had put in but, he thought I should aim to stay on the bike next time with a big chuckle.
I loved his banter, being able to ask his advice, most of all Tony was the Rovers to me, he dedicated all his time and effort to the club and its members, you could feel his pride for all of us. I recall him saying in one of our many chats that because he could not ride anymore, he rode through us all. I shall miss Tony greatly, miss his wisdom, encouragement, humour and great banter. He did so much for us all and I feel so very privileged to have known him.