Chairmans Speech from the Centenary Evening Dinner

Celebration Dinner – Chairman’s Speech – 1st October 2021 


I’m not very familiar with Earlsdon, so on the way here tonight I asked someone the quickest way to the Golf Club.  He asked if I was in a car, or walking.  I said I was in a car, and he said, “that’s the quickest way”.  

I would like to formally welcome Cycling UK’s Chief Executive, Sarah Mitchell to this Centenary Celebration Dinner and to Julie Rand, who used to liaise between HQ and local clubs. More recently she has been a prime mover in the Women’s Festival of Cycling and The Going the Extra Mile rewards and recognition program. 

This is a big thank you to everyone in the Club who has made it thrive over the last few years.  For many years we have had a full programme of Sunday and Tuesday Rides and tours varying in length from a weekend to several weeks. Perhaps we’ve had less tours in recent years, but the day ride programme has gone from strength to strength. Except for last year we have also held a fortnightly Winter Clubroom, run by Dave Hearn when members have shared experiences and photos from their tours. In 2019 after a few years in the doldrums the Clubroom was gaining in popularity again and will be returning next Tuesday at the Friends Meeting House in Hill Street.  The format will be a little different this year as we will be devoting some evenings to cycle maintenance and gps skills.  Judging by the number of people suffering from Garminitis it should be a popular night. 

Organising events is very much a team effort and this was brought home to me after the recent 100-km Challenge Ride: we had 42 riders, who all enjoyed the event. Significantly we had a total of 28 helpers on the event, some of whom were also riders like the bakers, but others were managing the check-in process at the start and finish of the ride, running the afternoon tea stop at Clifton, taking photos all day and on standby with a sweeper service, which was fortunately not used. 

At the risk of overlooking anyone I must say a special thank you to a few people who have made a special contribution to the Club: 

Gordon Mead, our President, is unfortunately not cycling now. He started cycling with the Club immediately after the war and used to tour in the Alps when the journey there was made by train and few of the passes were tarmacked.  He kept the Club going through lean times and without his persistence it is doubtful that the Club would be in its present form. 

Paul Whitehead, who has sadly passed away. He was instrumental in setting up the Air Ambulance collection. Paul was a friend to everyone and enthusiastic in all aspects of Club life. 

 Paul Morton, who managed the editing and production of a very professional Centenary Souvenir booklet. 

Dave Hearn, who organised the catering on the 100-km Challenge Ride and, although it’s not strictly a  CTC Coventry event, organised the 100th Meriden Memorial Service placating several warring factions along the way. 

Keith Jeacock, our Treasurer who has had the unenviable job of assigning payments into our accounts to the many and various activities: jersey and badge sales, the centenary booklet, the barbeque, the 100-km ride, this dinner, and Air Ambulance collections. 

Alan Jelley, our webmaster. About 3 years ago he re-designed and implemented a new website for us.  A website is not a static entity and Alan has worked continuously to keep the data up to date and to introduce new features.  Being pulled in several directions at once has been hard, but Alan has maintained an efficient service. I must give credit to Kevin Croucher who created our first website at a time when internet access was achieved via a dial-up modem with its characteristic jangling connection tone.  To have included photos would have meant that each page would have taken too long to load. It’s hard to believe what it was like now, but it was time for a change.   

Marina Friend, has quietly taken a lead in the women’s group and has planned and led rides on the less visible projects like the Stoke Aldermoor community project.  

Mike Thomas, has been one of the hardest working members of the team always stepping up to take on jobs, despite having many other personal commitments. In particular, he organised a very successful York to Edinburgh tour in June, which gave 10 of us a real blast of freedom.  He managed an excellent barbeque in July attended by over 60 people and, as if that wasn’t enough, he has organised tonight’s dinner.  All these events have required significant thoughts and arrangements behind-the-scenes: please show your appreciation. 

Thank you to all the active club members – without your loyal, regular  riding and leading we would not have a club. 

Vicky Palethorpe has been a whirlwind through the Club, being a very competent secretary and used her effective networking skills to good effect. Before Vicky joined us women were a scarcity on our rides and now you can see the change, just by looking at the 100-km event on which 50% of the riders were women, just as it should be: thank you Vicky.