John made his final ride Thursday to Croydon Crematorium and surely an unassailable position as the greatest Anerley rider of the modern era. 40 year old records go unchallenged. But as the euologies by Mark, John D and Tom V reminded us they were not his greatest legacy. It was the inspriration he gave to all that knew him and will be passed on to the next generation that will see his spirit living on.
A huge turnout with more Anerley shirts then we have ever seen in one place at the time was there to escort John to the committal service which had many touching moments including this favorite ditty of John's recited to take fellow cyclists minds off the pain of a hard climb:
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"
Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
A delight in words, an infectious silliness. The one sadness voiced was we had lost the man who could diagnose and fix any cycling issue. YouTube videos don't really cut it.
His greatest record was Brighton'n'back. This Sunday as a homage we will be repeating it but at a rather more sedate rate. John - we miss you but we won't ever forget you!