THIS area has a rich sporting heritage but it’s significant how often one person has stood out as a driving force behind a particular pursuit.
We had an example of that recently with notes on the late JG McFarlane who was known as Mr South Shields Harriers because of his work on behalf of the club, and who was also a key figure in the annual staging of the old Ingham Infirmary Sports.
Today, though, we’re in the saddle with the question: what became of this gentleman?
He was Bill Coxon and he was a stalwart for many years of the South Shields Victoria Cycling Club. Some old members of the club have been getting together in recent years and they’re keen to know what became of Bill.
Cycling has a history in Shields going back to the 1870s and the formation of the South Shields Cycling Club, which went on to become one of the oldest in the North.
Other clubs followed, among them the Caer Urfa, the Tyne Road Club and the South Shields Olympic.
Also the South Shields Victoria, which started out in 1892 as the Wesleyan Presbyterian Cycling Club.
I’ve been hearing about it from former member Derek Aynsley.
Bill Coxon became secretary of the club in 1920 and was later president of it.
Says Derek: “Under Bill’s direction, the club was still going strong in the 1950s, with a great social and racing membership.
“Unfortunately, conscription was in force at this time and many of the male members drifted off to the Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy. When we returned to civilian life, our thoughts were towards carving a career for ourselves, settling down and getting married.”
Recently, however, one old member, Allen Scurr, returned to the UK and rounded a few of his old cycling pals up for lunch. They now meet annually.
“In some cases the numbers have grown but, unfortunately, due to our ages, some have departed.”
At their last lunch, Bill Coxon’s name came up.
Derek says: “Does anyone know what happened to him, and the club? If any of the old 1950s crowd are interested in joining us for lunch next September, they can contact me.”
Derek is on 0191 4561532 or e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org