Tribute to John Pendleton by Eugene Bardwell
This is my own personal tribute to John whom I first met at a race that I was riding at Frant in Kent in May 1968. I had a puncture and made my way back to my car which was parked next to his. He asked what was wrong and we got chatting and things went from there. I had just moved down south at the time and he said why don’t you join the VCN the forerunner of the Southdown Velo. This I did.
John was a big help in instilling enthusiasm in the riders of the Club. I remember at the time he was Gen Secretary/Race Secretary and used to phone up every Sunday evening to find out how you got on in the races. He used to drive all over the place taking club riders to and from races and never wanted any payment for it.
JP was the organiser of several editions of the Tour of the Southdowns (a three day race) back in the seventies and for a number of years organised the Hayling Island Diving Services race in October. He helped out with the organisation of the Havant Grand Prix and was one of the assistant directors for the event as well as marshalling at the race. He was a commentator at the Portsmouth Track, drawing on his wealth of knowledge of riders to give in depth commentary and he will be hard to replace. He was a great inspiration to all the youngsters in the sport especially those in the Southdown. For a number of years he helped out with the kids at Goodwood evening races for Surrey League and again he will be hard to replace in this area.
If anybody from the Southdown was needed to go to Division meetings John would go without hesitation and relay information back.
You would always see John at races that the Southdown riders were in. It didn’t matter what the weather, somewhere around the circuit he would be there ready to hand up bottles and to shout encouragement to the riders.
For years he had been going to go to the Duo race in Normandy with the Southdown and finally made it in September 2003. I think from what he said he enjoyed it and wished that he had gone in earlier years.
Well what sort of person was he? John was born on the IOW on June 23rd 1932. When I first knew him he worked for Erith Builders Merchants and then earned his living as a taxi driver. He was the sort of person that made a statement about something and that was that. If anybody wanted to argue with what he had said he wouldn’t. He would just walk away. He was generally a private person who kept himself to himself and didn’t cause anybody any grief.
He commanded a lot of respect in the world of cycling mainly as an organiser, helper, advisor and generally an all round good bloke. It’s a fair statement to say that cycling was his main interest in life, especially the Southdown. He will be a hard act to follow and will be missed by all of us.