Sunday 17 June 2001

London to Brighton Bike Ride -17th June 2001

After 58 grueling miles, all members of the Chearsley Bell Bikers crossed the finishing line of the 2001 London to Brighton Bike Ride together, to a rapturous welcome from the coach load of supporters who had made the trip to the south coast. Not only did the threatened rain fail to materialise, but the riders arrived in Brighton to patches of blue sky and touches of sunshine.

A beach-side buffet awaited all, with a generous spread of food and drink available to mark the celebrations and give the riders some well earned refreshment.
The day was capped with a pre-arranged stop for dinner at Epsom, where both Peter Grimsdell and Nic Brown were toasted in recognition of the tremendous work they had put in to organise the day - the logistics of arranging registration, transport and post-race victuals being no small matter. The day was finally complete with the presentation of a splendidly decorated cake to mark Nic's birthday.

Clapham Common, 7:00 am, and the Chearsley Bell Bikers prepare for the off...

... and just before the off, a well-clad team pose in the cool London air.

The first of two scheduled team stops. Peter Grimsdell demonstrates his missing fingers while Mark Gillis wonders just what was in that burger he just ate . . .

An unknown usurper pips the Chearsley Bell Bikers as they cross the finish line en masse.

"I know that photographer from somewhere"

The relief is obvious as the riders dismount.

On to the beach party and Sue and Nic, caterers supreme, pose momentarily as guests are forced to serve themselves.

Rider Paul 'Nibblet' Kingsman is forced to decide between beer and more beer.

Maureen is temporarily flummoxed as she's is joined by a familiar looking beach hobo...

Almost the complete team, plus a young supporter.

Then, on to Epsom for a splendid feast....

...and finally, Happy Birthday Nic!

Sunday 3 June 2001

And he picked up the ball and ran with it...

Howard's Way: Episode 2

Chearsley youngster, John Howard fulfilled a childhood dream last weekend when he pulled on the White Shirt with the Red Rose of England on it. John was one of 12 young lads chosen to represent England in the International Rugby Board World 7-a-side Tournament held in Wales on Saturday and Sunday.
The Preliminary Rounds were played in Newport during Saturday. After drawing against Spain and narrow losses against Georgia and Fiji, the England lads disappointingly didn't proceed to the main competition on Sunday. John started in all 3 games, and unfazed by the occasion, he played with his usual gusto and tackled ferociously. Although he didn't score himself, his slick passing from scrum-half created tries for his colleagues on a number of occasions. Undoubtedly his finest moment was the 'sacking' of a rather large Fijian forward (can't remember his unpronounceable name) in a very close contest against the acknowledged masters of the rugby 7's game.
The disappointments of Saturday were soon forgotten in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Sunday, with a much better team performance. Despite the customary local hospitality i.e. booing by the (pathetic!) Welsh supporters every time England took the field or scored, the team succeeded in winning The Bowl Trophy with victories over France, Canada and Portugal. Sadly, John had to retire early from the tournament, following a crunching tackle on a French forward during which he cut his knee very badly. The wound needed stitching in the medical room and the injury meant that he was unable to take further part in proceedings. The good news is that it's not a long term injury (and he'll be spared the first three weeks of pre-season training at Saints, which begins this week).
Nevertheless, he was there to receive The Bowl Trophy, winner's medal and lap of honour with his team-mates - cue in another round of booing from moronic Welsh supporters. Otherwise, a superb day of international competition in the breathtaking surroundings of one of the finest sporting arenas in the world. Well done to the New Zealand All Blacks who were quite magnificent in winning the main tournament.
Here's hoping that dream goes on.
John Howard Snr.