Malc Adams

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Updated 25 February 2010

Who?, What?, Where? and When? of:

Your President - Malcolm L Adams

I 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 helping out.

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.

E.N.’Chip’ 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.

Malcolm Adams.


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