But the Spirit Lived On!

Although it is true, as Ron Martin has written, that the Club had ceased its activities until the war was over, the spirit of the Redmon lived on. There was still cycling to be done, there was still cycling to be enjoyed and there were still ‘Redmonites’ who were still doing just that. Not racing maybe, but riding bikes in the spirit of the ‘original’ Club. Meeting on Sunday mornings at Rose Hill RAB when possible and enjoying the company and the rides. The spirit of the Redmon lived on and the link with the old club was Jim Burrow. Here is how my brother Ned remembered it:- p>

For my brother Jim and I the name Redmon was synonymous with cycling in the years 1935-1939. We would see them gather outside Conroy’s Shop and Cafe, near the George Inn on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings close to where we lived in the Haig Homes.  Jim Burrow and Bill Hens we knew through the Holy Family School and Church, Morden, whilst the Merry Brothers, Jean Kemsley, Kath Chambers, and Mary Cornwall lived on the Haig Homes Estate.

When the activities of the Redmon came to an end in 1941, Jim Burrow was mainly responsible for starting a cycling section of the newly opened Holy Family Youth Club the same year.  In more ways than one, this was the embryo of the post-war Redmon Cycling Club through its members.  Jim Burrow was the founding enthusiast until the RAF called him up and shipped him to India then Burma, back to India and home again a few years later. Pat Wright, Geoff Wright, Sean Hayden (a Club Treasurer), Pat Barlow, Kitty Beckitt, Bernadette Hegarty, Eileen Sulllivan, Eileen White, myself and brother Jim all became members of the post-war Redmon and some still are.  It is also true that through Jimmy’s enthusiasm we thought of ourselves as Redmonites if, not in name, at least in spirit.  We enjoyed our runs under some strange conditions. One Sunday run had us being showered with pieces of burnt paper half-way to Guildford. Merton Board Mills had gone up during the night’s bombing and the paper that had gone upwards on the updraught heat was now coming down again.  I also remember on one trip sitting just outside Dover whilst German shells landed fired from the Pas des Calais.  The coastal area for many miles inland was ‘out of bounds’ unless you lived there (fear of invasion, etc) and the roads were blocked off. Still, being bikies, we knew all the little byways that weren’t! Gradually we were called-up but there were plenty left of the younger element who carried on riding.

I kept in touch with Jim Burrow during his service in the RAF.  It was June 1946 when he returned home from India on repatriation leave and eventually demobilisation.  We’ve got to get the Redmon going again said Jim. His first words as he entered the room at his house, 44 Chalgrove Avenue, where his family and mine, were all gathered to greet the returning hero.  Within the first few days Jimmy was getting in touch with former members. I remember discussions at Ron and Joyce Martin’s home which resulted in a meeting held on July 5th at the Mitcham Labour Hall when it was decided to get the Redmon Cycling Club going again. How this was done is better described by Ron Martin who was as much the Redmon to us as Jimmy in his way.

Jim Walsh

Previously Printed in the Redmon Review for April 2005