Obituary for Jim Love

Dear clubmates,

As many of you already know our much loved President, Jim Love, recently passed away at the age of 95.  Jim’s daughter, Carol, has written the following obituary for Jim and very kindly sent it to the club along with some wonderful pictures of Jim.

John Davies


Jim Love 15th January, 1929 to 1st March, 2024

Jim Love was modest, principled, strong but a gentle man. Jim started cycling as a teenager and as a Londoner he joined the Willesden Cycling Club when he was about 16. He quickly became a good rider taking part in time trials, track racing and of course the Sunday club runs with often over 100 Willesden CC riders mobbing the club’s favourite cafes!

Paddington track was Jim’s main track, followed by Herne Hill. By 1948 he had earned his place in the Olympic Team Pursuit. Unfortunately a bad crash a few weeks before the Olympics and an off-day at the penultimate training day meant he was made a reserve for the 4 man pursuit team. Some thought this may have been a result of team politics, but Jim was too modest to be drawn on the subject

Jim going at full power in 1948!

One of Jim’s many friends and also his track rival was Charlie Mariner. In 1949 Charlie invited Jim to present prizes at the Southern Paragon annual dinner dance and it was there that he met Eileen, who was also a keen cyclist with the Southern Paragon. They married in 1952.

As many cycling clubs began to fade in 1960s Jim and Eileen became founder members of the Sotonia Cycling Club in 1967. Jim sketched the orange and white club jersey’s early designs at their kitchen table. Jim was club coach and President and remained a Vice President.

Jim was also a member of the Pedal Club and the Scrumpy Wheelers, which showed the breadth of his love of cycling. In the build up to the 2012 Olympics in London, he was honoured to be included in many meetings with athletes, politicians and Princess Anne. He was given tickets to the 2012 track cycling and triathlon events and was astounded and delighted to see so many people understood and cheered the track cycling events.

Last summer Jim was again honoured to unveil a plaque at Herne Hill Velodrome to mark the 75th anniversary of the 1948 Olympic track events were held there. Thought to be the last man standing from that track squad, he was accompanied by his proud family and also the daughters of team members Reg Harris and Alan Geldard. This proved to be a fantastic family day out. Dad delighted in seeing all the youngsters racing at the same meeting as the internationals, “taking part in the best sport in the world”. This day buoyed him for the last few months of his long life.
Cycling was always the hub of Jim and Eileen’s lives with all the spokes representing the friends, social events, competition, holidays, adventures, photography, books and fitness. Finally the rim joined all these aspects for their lives together.

Jim always maintained his links with the Willesden serving as club president. He still holds two Willesden Club records, maybe it is time to revive those events and try to beat him? He held the Club 25 record in 1949 at 1hr 1m 16s.

As a teenager Dad also became a keen photographer and over time took and inherited many photos. Jim, always meticulous, has passed this archive to the National Cycling Archive held at Warwick University free for anyone to visit.

A printer by profession he loved books. Most of these are being sold for charity at a Bike Jumble on 21st April in Brockenhurst

Jim is survived by his wife and sister, both Eileen, children Brian and Carol, grand-daughters Imogen and Lucy.

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