To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of its founding, the Club held a Dinner on Saturday December 6th 2003 at The Pump Rooms attended by many local dignitaries. The Dinner was the climax of an interesting day which included a cycle ride and an afternoon of reminiscing. With refreshments and a Palm Court Quartet at the new Jephson Gardens Restaurant. Many past and long standing members of our Club were present at the afternoon tea, with its extensive photograph montage of cycling and athletic sporting events which we had held within the community over the years.
The Dinner was an opportunity to acknowledge the improvements to the Edmondscote track and facilities arranged by WDC. Sport in the Community is very much a current theme for the Governing Bodies of sport and for local and national politics. We are pleased that we have in the Club a thriving organisation.
This has played its part and continues to do so in encouraging the young, the not so young, under-represented groups and the less advantaged to achieve a good level of fitness at the same time as enjoying themselves and realising that sport is indeed accessible to them.
One of the more remarkable guests at the Dinner was 92 year old Freddie Dale who with late President Ted Clifford was there at the founding in 1928. Both have been so keen to keep the two Sections together. Ted was latterly known as Mr Athletics but he actually joined the Cycling Club. Whereas Fred, known as a Cyclist, started with the Leamington Athletics Club on 21st Sept 1928.
Alex Montgomery leads the pack for LC&AC
District Council Support
Warwick District Council has supported these endeavours throughout the decades. In 1962 they spent £18,000 on the cinder track at Edmondscote, somewhat more in 1986 with the all weather surface and floodlighting. Then in 2003 completing the £500, 000 expansion and refurbishment of the track and its facilities. It is unusual to find a track close to the centre of a town and readily accessible to many community groups that we wish to encourage.
From the photograph montage on display it could be seen that the Club has produced a number of international class cyclists and athletes over the years and continues to compete at a high level in both sports. The Club’s youngsters are always prominent at Warwickshire and National Schools Athletics Championships. Many have progressed to achieve national senior recognition at home and abroad. The cyclists have staged Classic Events for many years. In the 60’s and 70’s an annual 100mile time trial which hosted the Women’s National Championship in 1970 won by the late Beryl Burton. More recently, the Club’s cycling ladies won the National Team Time Trial last year, and the Club hosted the Men’s National 10mile Championships in May this year.
The use of Pump Rooms was not new, on most Saturdays Club cycle rides started from there. Annually cyclists from all over the Midlands met in the Pump Room Gardens on the first Sunday in September. We have staged Classic Cycling events since the 30’s – the annual 100 mile trial being particularly strong in the 60’s 70’s – Len Orrick won the last in 1975 and in 1970 we hosted the Women’s National 100 won by Beryl Burton. In 2002 we hosted the National 10 Champs organised by Steve Walker; and our Women’s Team won the National 10 in 2002 – Pam Styles, Chris Walker and Tina Mullins.
Athletes were prominent over the period. Tom Buckingham won the Midlands Marathon in 1962. He was part of winning GB team at the 90km Comrades Marathon in South Africa. Then of course Cavin was pre-eminent in 70’s, setting world bests for 30m, 50m, 100kms, and 100miles – running not riding! also featuring in the medals at Comrades and the London to Brighton. Already holding the world best time for 30 miles, the 25th October 1976 was a classic day in the history of World Ultra Running for our Club and for Cavin.
Just three weeks earlier he had won the London to Brighton road race, missing the course record by just one minute. On the chilly October morning a group of world class long distance runners met at Tipton to take on the challenge of a 100 mile track race. Cavin went straight into the lead, which he never lost. He passed the 50 mile point in a new world record. He then broke the 150km world record and on the completion of the 100miles had added a third world record to his list of achievements. All the time Cavin was the Treasurer of the Club and made over 100 appearances in the blue and white in the Birmingham Cross Country League.
We bring on many younger people who achieve national prominence as Juniors and Seniors. Recently Jeff and Jenny Christie, Jonny Aires, Sara McGreavy, James Walsh. Before them, the Wurr brothers, Noel Edwards, Andy Hart, Sue Harrison and Susie Tawney. Some of whom necessarily move on as University and life takes them elsewhere. Mention of Susie illustrated how the sport had extended over time and we had to move with it. Susie, International Vet Athlete, double medal winner at the European Masters – we didn’t have Veteran categories for most of our history.
We continue to have a deserved reputation for staging high quality National and Regional Cycling events, County and Midland T&F and X-C Champs featuring up to 1500 athletes. Thanks are due to all cyclists and athletes who help marshal and organise events like these. Especially when we act together as one Club.
The Present Day
Over the last decade the Club has strengthened itself in the athletics arena. It has done so through high quality coaching and its strong team of officials.
Most recently several Club members have won England Athletics Regional Awards for the Midlands and three of them went on to win the National Awards. Mary Hodges won the award for EA National Official of the Year for 2020 and Les Barnett was awarded the National Award for Services to Athletics 2021 and Mary Carter won Coach Of The Year 2022.
Several of our younger members have been selected for British or English teams competing at home and abroad. We currently have a growing junior section bringing along the next generation of the athletes. As a Leamington athletics club we take pride in what we do and being able to offer coaching at all levels and from young to old.