Updated 25 February 2010
Who?, What?, Where? and When? of:
Your President - Malcolm L Adams
was born on the 21st February 1939 at 91 Nunhead Lane Peckham where I was to
reside with my parents, and younger brother, until I got married. My first
school was Peckham Rye Junior and Infants where I was taught the 3 ‘r's’
(Reading, righting & rithmmertic!). During the latter part of the war(1944) I
did attend school in Worthing for 3 months, this was to escape the serious
bombing of London at that time.
Somehow, I managed to pass my common entrance exam (11+) and Archbishop
Tenison’s Grammar School for Boys became a daily visit for the next 5 years, not
sure I learnt much, except discipline (sadly missing these days). Still the
cricket was great (the school being directly opposite the Oval). Surrey won the
championship for the 5 years I attended Tenison’s
On leaving school I went to work for C.C.Wakefield & Co. Ltd. soon to become
Castrol Ltd, then Burmah – Castrol. I started as an office junior on £150pa plus
5% cost of living bonus. I mooched around various sections of the Mechanical
Accounting Dept. until the mid sixties. One day I was approached by my assistant
manager asking if I would be prepared to take an ‘exam’, no explanation. I took
an IBM IQ test and shortly afterwards started training to become a computer
systems analyst/programmer. When the company decentralised to Swindon, some five
years later, I took the redundancy package (after 16 plus years of service).
Shortly afterwards I joined Roy Savery and John Geoghegan at Imperial Life of
Canada, a while later John ‘Kav’ joined the throng. I spent five and a half
challenging years with the company. I moved to Herne Bay whilst we were based in
Sidcup but on the company’s move to Bromley I found the travelling difficult so
left and bought an Insurance Agency with the Co-operative Insurance Society. My
organisational skills from my computer days soon had the collecting down to 9
hours a month, so much exploring of East Kent on my bike could be had. Thirteen
years later at the age of 50, new legislation looming, I threw in the Insurance
towel and ‘went’ self employed. I had for some years done casual work with a
neighbour in the ceramic tiling business and had learnt the trade, so this was
to be my final job. My philosophy was always, ‘I work to live, not live for
work’. & ‘Work is an imposition on what I want to do with my life’.
At the age of five I joined the cubs and subsequently the scouts (staying
till about the age of 17) We were attached to the Nunhead Salvation Army Corp
and I attended Sunday School and was still going to the Nunhead Corp until a
little while after I joined the De Laune. It was whilst in the Scouts that
cycling was introduced to me, unfortunately, I did not have a bike as my Father
said “if you want one you will have to buy your own, anyway, they are dangerous
and your Mother doesn’t want you to have one”. So I (secretly) learnt to ride on
a scouting friend’s new bike (Raleigh roadster I believe - green and very heavy)
and had to wait until I went to work to buy my first bike.
On the 26/08/55 I purchased a Claude Butler (23” ‘Valient’ model) in pale
blue from Claude’s East Dulwich Shop It cost me £30.07.06d . Secretly I borrowed
the money from my mother and paid her back at 10/- a week. From that day on my
life was complete and the great adventure began (after breaking in a Brookes B15
champion standard leather saddle!). With the scouts we had ‘through the night
rides’, this taught me the rudiments of map reading, not though I used them much
in the future, I have always preferred to get lost and discover places. The
‘hanging around’ Nunhead on our bikes lead to the meeting with Martin Ferris who
introduced me to the De Laune, (I was by then aware that Harry Thomas, 4 doors
away at 101 Nunhead Lane was a member) and I attended my first club night on
Thursday 9th January 1958 the following week I paid my De Laune Subs, £1.02.06d
and awaited my acceptance into the club. Within a few weeks I got to know Alan
Rowe through Martin and John Weal. So Alan and I became good mates, thus the
double act at committee meetings.
My cycling achievements are very modest in comparison with my contemporaries.
Thrown in the deep end my first race was the Kentish Wheelers Novices ‘25’ on
the 23 March that year. Met Brixton Town Hall 3.30am rode to Earlsfield, (the
other side of Redhill), pushed off into the mist and finished in a time of
1.17.45. A week later in the club novices I managed a 1.11.40, if only I had
continued at that rate of improvement! I enjoyed my cycling so much that racing
did not become an obsession at that time because club runs and the other aspects
of club life were all new to me. Harry Thomas and Len Danby lead the runs and
entertained with their impressions of the GOON characters, one great new
adventure. Who remembers the Whipsnade Zoo clubrun in May 59 ?
Training! What’s that! I have only ever got fit by accident I have always
found I have had too many other things to do and whilst I have every admiration
for those who can become single minded I possess a 'butterfly’ mind flitting all
over the place. By the mid sixties I started to get the hang of time trialling
and my times ‘improved’, a few threes and fours were produced. By the end of the
eighties I got out a ‘1’ .At the advent of low profile machines more ones and
twos were produced until at the age of 59 I did a ‘59’ (59.22) it has been down
hill ever since as I am still celebrating that day.
Why do I still continue to race? (using the term loosely) Dave Keeler the
great place to place rider (Vegetarian C & AC) said to me some years back “I
ride so I can meet up with my mates, ride round the course, and have a chat and
a cup of tea afterwards”. “I can discuss the ‘ride’ with them, irrespective of
times, they are irrelevant, for we all suffer in the same places and I can stand
here with my tea and still feel part of it”. So there you have it!
My only cycling claims to fame, within the club, are that I have raced (used
loosely) for 50 seasons, more than any other member. I once won the run, walk
and cycle race and was presented with the ‘Eccles’ Cup (aptly named from the
character from the ‘Goons’) So proud of winning something I cleaned and
straighten it, much to the horror of other club members, it was later jump upon
and battered and rolled in mud to regain it’s ‘attractive’ appearance. I am also
(not a lot of people know this!) the club’s track standing record holder I was
asked to ‘get off’ by Jack Young after an hour, everyone was fed up waiting for
me to fall off, as much gesticulating and comments failed to shift me. I was
sustained throughout this gruelling hour by being handed my trusty tobacco tin
from which I took the tobacco and duly rolled several cigarettes which I then
lit and smoked.
I met my future wife, Lyn, on the Isle of Wight in 1968 and we married on the
27th June 1970 (I did not have to check this date!) This year we celebrate our
40th year of marriage and I thank her for putting up with me all these years, I
often wonder how! We have 2 daughters, three granddaughters and a grandson. We
all live within a few miles of one another and I hope it will stay that way for
many more years.
My other interests and hobbies and activities include, first and foremost
DARTS! I played competition darts for over 50 years (I stopped a couple of years
ago before I killed a ‘chalker’ with a badly aimed dart). I played for Castrol
in the Central London Business House League where we were quite successful
collecting quite a few trophies. I captained an ’ in house’ departmental team,
more trophies! I played for the Tyrell Arms Pub in Nunhead (never won a thing!)
The ‘Tyrell’ became the home of the De Laune darts team for some years. We were
in the South East London Darts League, more medals and trophies over the 15
years I was captain. I moved to Herne Bay and played for the same pub team for
more that 30 years, more trophies.
I also played chess for many years in the Central London Business House
League for Castrol, with moderate success (once I got a draw out of a chess
master- but he was playing 20 of us simultaneously).
My main hobby is DIY and I seem to always have projects on the go, either
decorating or making things. I have built brick walls, patios, a workshop,
furniture, made miniature scaled furniture for our daughters’ dolls house, this
list is endless. I will include gardening in with this.
In the year 2000 I started the East Kent section of the Morgan Car Club, of
which I am still secretary, even though I have now sold my car.
My greatest interest is in Jazz, New Orleans Music (I will always say not
TRAD) which I have listened to live and recorded, read many books on the subject
and followed the musicians for over 55 years. I have had the privilege of
meeting some of the old black musicians on our first visit to New Orleans some
years ago. On our second visit in November 2008 we were taken to the ‘Katrina’
ravaged areas of the Upper and Lower 9th Districts and the Treme District, where
all the Black musicians used to live, we left heartbroken.
My musical talent should not go unmentioned. I was given a cornet to learn in
the Salvation Army, to train for their Junior band, then a horn, then another
type of horn. I have no ear for music. The Salvation Army gave up on me for many
years but eventually left me in charge of the big bass drum. At school I came
top in music, theory, and set pieces on the piano. As an award for my
achievements I was given the privilege of having private violin lessons Oh Dear!
I was then asked to join the School Choir and I ‘sung’ in St Martins-in the
Fields Trafalgar Square in one founder’s service (the School was founded in the
crypt in 1685) I wasn’t asked back!
I almost forgot to mention my 2nd claim club the Thanet Road Club (34 years)
where I was a committee member for many years and still get ‘involved’ in
Much to Lyn's chagrin I have, during the last few years, started the family
history. The main research is being done by a good friend of mine in the States
but I spend much time searching the web for more information, once I have the
base. I have now produced some 8inches thick hardcopy (both our families,
maternal and paternal) and have much more to do.
Also I still take a keen interest in the Faunce and De Laune family history
and have helped put several family members in touch with one another. This I
have now laid aside, unless someone else gets in touch.
I think that is enough about me, so back to the De Laune Cycling Club. I feel
extremely honoured to be elected President of our great club and long may it
continue. Any club is only a name it is the people who belong to it that make it
great. Over the years we have had some terrific people, riders and officials,
who have kept our club to the fore. I will not mention those still amongst us
who have and are still doing sterling work, too many! Plus, there is always the
fear of me missing someone out, so I will go to when I joined in 1958 and
highlight a few.
George Le Grys, the President when I joined the De Laune, I held him in great
awe, he could make speeches last for hours, addressing the audience “when I was
a lad…..” Then there was Ken Fletcher who scared the living daylights out of me
long before he became President, he held many post during his life in the club.
Chippendale, he deserves a paragraph on his own. I would say he was our
President’s President. Apart from our clubs many duties, taken on by him, “Chip”
was President of the BCF, acted as host to Prince Philip & the Prime Minister
and much much more.
Ken Hill, dear Ken would do anything for the club, (who remembers his mile of
coins?-it raised over a £1,000) in fact I think he would have been happy to do
‘the lot’ on his own. Jack Young, a methodical, quite but firm gentleman, was
Treasurer (20 years approx) and club captain. Ken Fuller, leaving aside his many
other official posts, first and foremost we have Ken to thank for making a
Memorial clubroom possible, so sad to see us having to forsake such a brilliant
project. Fred Peachey and Reg Dawkins worked tirelessly, they were the link for
me (along with Ken Hill) when I first joined the club, as all three were very
approachable and had a lot of time for new members, making us very welcome.
“Charlie Carlton” deserves a mention, social sec, (he loved that job! beer and
more beer!) a chauffeur to some of us in the 60s, in his Volvo, promoter, and
DLN editor for a while.
The final two who stand out in my mind were two DLN editors. Frank Holland, I
never forgave him for leaving us stranded 10 miles from the railway station
whist he got a lift back to his house in Chipping Camden. We had half an hour to
catch the last train back to London, poor Sam Lawrence (Val Peachey’s Dad) only
made it because the train was about 6 minutes late. George Staresmere ‘the
stirrer’ George worked tirelessly to force people to contribute to the DLN
attacking in any way he could in a controversial manner, even when he wasn’t
editor, he didn’t give up.
One rider stands head and shoulders above all the others who have represented
our club and that is Alan Jackson who gained 2 medals in the Melbourne Olympics
in 1956. Through the years our riders have been ambassadors for the club,
wearing our colours with pride and long may they continue to do so.
The De Laune Cycling Club was those gentleman and before them there were many
more. I hope the club will still be around when we are long gone but for the
present I feel confident we are in safe hands.
In conclusion I have asked myself, what have I got in common with the above
gentleman, my immediate thought to myself was, not a lot, but on reflection I
will answer, I love this great club as much as they did. I know I will never be
a great President but I will do my best to be a good one.