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A Tribute to Johnny Marriott

 

A Tribute to Johnny Marriott

 

The celebration of the life of Johnny Marriott, who passed away peacefully on 11th September 2019 aged 89 years, was held at the South Leicestershire Crematorium on 23rd September 2019. It was attended by his son Andrew and daughters Kathy and Rachel, other family members including his numerous grandchildren, several members of the local cycling community and many friends and acquaintances. The event highlighted his commitment to his family and his interest art and music. However, he was also inspired by things mechanical, which resulted in his employment by local engineering companies and as was developed through the vocational qualifications he earned at the Leicester College of Technology. This interest expressed also itself in his love of model railways and also his passion for cycling. Furthermore, his engineering skills proved useful as a cyclist. For example, once on a club run, when he had a problem with his gears, he insisted that everyone rode on to the tea stop whilst he got out his link extractor and shortened his chain so that he could home in the gear of his choice.

 

Unfortunately, there are few Ratae members left who know a lot about his very successful racing career on the grass track. He had been a great rival of the late Bill Duffin, and one current member can recall a conversation between them during a tea stop at Whitemoors café in Shenton that was devoted entirely to reminiscing about races during the 1946 season! Another member who also raced on grass in the 1950s described how he had found a race scheduled for a venue in East Anglia that he thought he might be able to win only to find that John had entered. In those days top track riders would be rewarded with quite valuable prizes. Several members can recall John’s story of descending Wardley Hill on his way home from a race with his ‘racing wheels’ fixed to the carriers on the front wheel of his track bike and a canteen of cutlery, the first prize, balanced on his handlebars!

 

As Johnny was a grass track specialist during his racing days he was not really interested in time trials, where apparently the prizes were often less inviting. However, he must have ridden some as one member recalls him talking about having completed a 25 mile TT in 1 hour and 2 minutes. “Not bad for a trackie!” He did have high quality road bikes and until a few years ago he would go to the Wigston shops on do his treasured Freddy Grubb. Imagine how he felt to discover during one such trip that it had been stolen! Fortunately, an eagle eyed club member spotted it on E-bay so it was restored to him.

 

All those who were fortunate enough to have known Johnny will remember him as a true gentleman. He was always ready of offer a helping hand, whether it was providing mechanical assistance or advice or simply helping with the washing up at club night, where he always sat in the same place. Unfortunately, in his latter years he became somewhat unsteady on his feet and suffered a number of falls. Consequently, he moved into a local residential care home, where he continued to be supported by his family and was visited by several club members. He will be greatly missed by his family and by members of the Ratae RC.

 

Many Thanks to Kevin Commons for this tribute to a great Club man and true gentleman.

 
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