After the last newsletter I received an email from Ken Wells reminding me that he had been a member of the old Brighton Clarion.
Quite early on – soon after the current version started back in 2004 – we tried to find out as much as we could about our predecessor. In one of our newsletters, then known as a circular, that 1 April, I reported as follows:
As a result of the piece that Adam Trimingham put in the Argus the other week I had a call from Brian Hutton. Brian is the paper’s long time cycling correspondent and may be known to some of you (He was a member of a Brighton section of the Club in the later 1940s. Apparently the leading figure was Wally Newman, a local Labour councillor, who I’ve certainly heard of and I’m sure so have some of you Most of the members, though, like Brian himself, tended later to concentrate their efforts with other local clubs like the Brighton Mitre.
Brian actually became a member of the new B&H Clarion, although he was not able to cycle any longer. Sadly, he is no longer with us – Sue and I attended his funeral a few years ago – but happily, as already indicated, Ken certainly is. Below is a piece he wrote for us back in the day. You’ll find much more, with some photos, including one of Dave Gravett who some of us will remember from when he attended early Christmas ‘do’s’ (and the old Brighton Jazz Club)) if you go to the blog, click on the the link to the old website and then on ‘history’ In the meantime here are some of Ken’s recollections.
Ken Wells recalls the Clarion in the late 1940s
I was a member from early 1948 to 1949, when I left to join the Prestonville Nomads, I have been in Brighton Mitre since Prestonville Nomads ended in 1968, and am currently treasurer and official for Sussex CRL.
Unfortunately, I do not have any results from that period, but I remember riding an SCA 25 in September 1948, when Clarion had quite a good team, and several club events. Principal rider was Mike Moreton, another rider for Clarion in that event, and second team counter was Brian James, also a Mitre member who lives at Bracknell. He may have records. Mike Moreton left shortly after to join the Brighton and Hove Wheelers, he is no longer in the district. A few more names of 1948-1949 members, but I have no idea of their whereabouts.
Derek Payne who joined B & H Wheelers later and emigrated to Canada, Derek? Howson, Derek Grover, Brian James. Derek Marsh, who was club captain in 1948
Also ? Bush (cannot remember his first name), Len Blackman, Mike and Pat Moreton.
Pat joined the Prestonville when I did, and Mike Joined B & H wheelers shortlybefore being called up on National Service. National Service was the cause of a lot of people giving up cycling after being posted to distant shores with no bike. Mike was Sussex Pursuit champion and won several other championships in Wheelers colours, Clarion the team prize in an SCA 25 in Sept 48, which was my first 25, Mike did a 1-1 Brian James did a 1-4 in his first 25, I cannot remember who the third team counter was. It was not me.’
Brian, who is still in touch with Ken, adds a few more names though he’s not sure whether or not all of them actually joined the Clarion Ivan Kettley, ‘Faz’ Farrell, Derek Cover,]
At Easter 1948, what was, I think my second club run, was to Herne Hill for the Good Friday meeting at which Reg Harris was due to compete. (He did not owing to being injured in a car crash.) The run went on to a youth Hostel tour into Kent. I joined in as there was a vacancy, without letting my parents know. This caused a certain amount of alarm, as this was before wide availability of telephones, before I turned up on Monday evening. Club runs to Herne Hill were a common occurrence, Sunday runs were well attended: 20-30 attendance usual. In those days if you wanted to go anywhere, you just got on the bike and went. No cars and no money for train fares.
We also rode to Southampton Track and back to see Mike Moreton ride in an event (140 miles round trip).
One other small nugget of news, when I joined the RAF for national service in 1951, one of the standard questions was “Are you a member of a political party or cycling club”. Clarion was regarded as a political party.