7th November 2013
thanks to Mhairi Laffoley who has written these obituaries for her
father Archie and brother Alistair. We can only imagine how hard this
must have been, but the results are a fitting tribute to both men.
Thanks also to Jim Reid for the photographs.
LIFE TIME MEMBER of the VTTA & SCOTTISH GROUP
dad Archie, at the age of 90 and of frail health, on learning of his
son Alistair’s sudden and tragic death suffered an irreversible
relapse and sadly our family lost him four weeks after he had put his
son to rest. We have been dealt a double blow by losing both Dad and
Alistair within a 4 week period; a loss felt by family, fellow
cyclists and friends alike.
when in his early 20s was a miner and as transport to and from work
proved a problem he took up cycling as a means of commuting back and
forth to his workplace. Cycling was to become one of his greatest
pleasures over the next 70 years and a love affair of which he never
tired. Shortly after his introduction to cycling he became a member
of the Fife Century Road Club of which his uncle was a founder member
and he remained a committed member until his passing.
testing the merits of several cycling disciplines, Time Trialling was
to become the discipline that gave him the most enjoyment and he
competed in events at all distances from 10 miles up to the 12 hour
and 24 hours events. He preferred the long distance events with the
12 hour being his favourite and at age 44 in 1967 recorded a distance
of 383.520 miles in a 24 hour event. His 12 hour SVTTA Age Record at
68 years old with a distance of 204.355 miles still stands to this
in 1952 at the age of 29, he contracted TB and subsequently lost the
use of one of his lungs and was informed he would never walk again.
Fortunately Dad wasn’t very good at listening and proved the
doctors wrong as he continued to race until the age of 80 and
continued riding his bike until his 85th
year. Over the years he completed 1,053 events – not bad for
someone with only one lung.
was an ardent supporter of all aspects of cycling and assisted
wherever required, be it organising, marshalling or simply providing
guidance and advice. He was well known for sweeping up any debris
and filling in potholes likely to cause a mishap in the Tour of the
Kingdom 3 day RR event, which covered a distance of 180 miles. Such
was his enthusiasm to ensure the safety of competitors.
his club, as well as Fife Cycling Association, he held many positions
of office over the years and in the latter still held position of
Vice Chairman up until his death.
1963 he joined the Scottish Group of the VTTA, and served latterly as
President from 2003 – 2006. It was an organisation that he was
extremely proud to be a member of and he enjoyed the camaraderie of
fellow Vets when competing on both sides of the border.
was his tenacity in the face of adversity that he was awarded the
Group’s ‘Tom McGinness’ Meritorious Award on three separate
occasions – 1972, 1989 and 1999, an honour he was proud to receive.
Dad’s service to cycling was further recognised by a local cycle
shop owner and fellow member of the SVTTA, Sandy Wallace, who donated
to the Group a princely trophy that is now known as the ‘Archie
Speed Trophy’ and is awarded for the best aggregate MPH over the
10, 25 & 50TT distances.
was a proud father and grandfather in the knowledge that both
Alastair and grandson Gavin shared his love of cycling. Latterly,
when infirmity prevented him from attending events, he would sit
‘impatiently’ waiting on the phone call that would inform him of
both their results.
family would like to express our deepest thanks to the 15 cyclists
from local clubs and the two local police motorbike outriders that
escorted my Dad on his final journey; such was the esteem that was
held for Dad within Fife cycling, the cycling fraternity in general
aswell as the many friends outwith cycling that filled the reception
and stood outside during the service.
was not my Dad’s hobby, it was his life.
is with a heavy heart that I am writing this, as tragically my
brother, Alistair, lost his life after being hit by a car whilst out
on a training ride.
was inevitable that Ali would take up cycling as his sport as from an
exceptionally young age we attended cycle events to watch our dad,
Archie, compete. Ali joined Fife Century Road Club at the age of 8
and this remained his club until his passing.
the age of 12 he began his racing career taking part in local time
trials and, although he did try his hand at road racing, like Dad,
his love was to remain with time trialling and beating the clock.
Over the years Ali would travel the length and breadth of Scotland to
take part in time trial events of all distances from 10 miles to 12
hours. He has been the winner of the Fife Midweek Time Trial Series
as well as winning numerous club trophies and over his racing career
he completed 995 events. Often he would have gone straight to an
event after finishing his night shift, but even then he always had a
smile and a friendly word for his fellow competitors and those
well as competing Alistair’s main priority at any Fife Association
event was to ensure that all aspects such as marshalling, road
signage, organising etc, were in place, and if not he would forego his
position in the event to attend to administration
to ensure the event was run off successfully. Perhaps
Alistair’s biggest attribute to the Fife Centre was that of his
timekeeping skills and he was well known throughout the ‘Kingdom’
for his efficiency in this department.
had no hesitation in becoming a member of the Scottish Group of the
VTTA; so much
so that he joined the group in November 2003 prior to
birthday in May the following year, and was at the forefront of
encouraging others to do likewise. He was pleased earlier this year
when he achieved his standards at 10 and 25 miles after missing out
on these due to work commitments in the past few years.
was so proud that his young nephew Gavin had taken up cycling and was
carrying on the family tradition. They were often seen at races
together and shared the same excitement when discussing their plans
for 2014 season, and with no less excitement on the evening of Ali’s
last event: this being the evening prior to his life being so
tragically cut short.
brother lived for his bike and this tragedy has left a huge void not
only in our family life but, also, in the SVTTA and Scottish Cycling
Speed's funeral was held today at Kirkaldy. In the absence of any other
report of the day's proceedings I have taken the liberty of reproducing
Scott Taylor's fine words from the Braveheart site.
Fife cycling's had it
tough. Ali Speed was taken so cruelly, then Jim Brown's time came, and
Ali's dad Archie this week. All within a few weeks they are gone.
All were fantastic contributors to the sport they loved and gave so
much - there's been a lot of memories, tears, smiles, sadness, laughter
and banter (typical when cyclists get together!) - and fair to say the
sausage rolls and sandwiches went down well too!
The lads would have loved the way their family, friends, and the
cycling community paying their respects - Many in club colours. well
done to all who turned up in club kit. We gave them a great final
'push-off' for sure.
It was poignant, humbling and an honour to pay tribute to 'Erch' by
being part his final escort. We were led (quite rightly) by a Fife
Century wheel as we rode ahead of the man who holds the 24hr TT
Scottish record. What an achievement - taking a record to your grave is
a massive accolade.
It was an honour to reminisce with old photos, cycling records too. A
privilege to chat with Mhairi, Gavin, Margaret, and a lot of cycling
community friends over the past few weeks. Cycling has given me so much
- and it's sad it's taken losing guys I thought would be around forever
to make me realise that.
Thanks for the memories, the inspiration, the advice and the laughter.
We're worse off without you here, but please be assured I'll promise I
will shout my number as I cross the line the next time we meet.
Sure there is a lively chat going on in a better place tonight. Fuelled
by Jaffa cakes and stewed tea at a wee drum up somewhere sunnier than
Fife for sure!
10th. October 2013
Brown's funeral was held today at Kirkaldy crematorium.
Dave Bean of Kennoway Road Club for the following obituary.
Jim Brown of Fife Century Road Club lost his battle
with cancer on 1st Oct aged 79. Jim had been a member of Fife Century
Road Club since he moved to Fife in the late 1980s. He had previously
been a member of Coventry CC and Falkirk. Jim was a distance time
trialler with his favourite being the 12 hour, and after he finished
racing - ususlly on fixed wheel, he still went along to Scottish 12s to
spectate, and support the riders. His least favourite events were the
"short" 10s and 25s. But Jim was also a tireless worker behind the
scenes. As Marshal, or pusher off, there is not a race in central Fife
that Jim did not help at. Road races & Time trials, Jims
"Mystery machine" would be somewhere and close by there would be Jim,
red flag, Hi-viz vest and folding chair. Heatherhall Woods,
the right turn used on every Fife CA course around Freuchie,
was his spot. That was probably the most people saw of him at midweeks
as he would be out on the course bringing in signage when the times
were being read out.
As president of Fife Cycling Association he was a
calming influence, and his quiet but assured manner lent weight to his
thoughts and opinions.
Jim's presence will be sadly missed, and will be
one of a trio that has been a huge influence on Cycling in Fife that we
have lost in the last month.
9th. October 2013
The funeral arrangements for
Archie Speed are as follows.
Oct, at 10.15am, Kirkaldy
Crematorium. Refreshment thereafter at Dunnikier Hotel.
7th. October 2013
The SVTTA are very sad to
report that Archie Speed, Fife Century passed away this morning.
I can do
no better than reproduce Dave Bean's word from Facebook:
month has to be one of the worst in Fife cycling. Archie Speed passed
away peacefully this morning, Monday, and is now probably out on a bike
with Alistair & Jimmy. Its getting so that that's a bigger run
than Centuries runs at weekends. Words can't describe the contribution
that Archie made to Cycling in Fife & Scotland over a cycling
career in excess of 70 years. Racing, Officiating, Marshalling,
Reliability run sandwiches, being a thrawn bugger. Fife Century, Fife
CA & Scottish Veterans - Archie was it all, and we were all the
better for having known him. Cycling was not a pastime or hobby, it was
his life. Though he has been unwell for some time, he still kept up to
date with everybodies times and dragged himself to Fife CA meetings
when his health allowed. Our thoughts are with Margaret, Mhairi
& Gavin who seem to have more burden than anyone deserves just
arrangements to follow.
Brown's funeral will be held at Kirkaldy Crematorium on
Thursday 10th Oct at
bad news to report for Fife Century RC as Jimmy Brown
sadly passed away yesterday.
who has raced in Fife, particulary at the midweek events, will
have seen Jimmy out doing the signage in his campervan and then
marshalling. While all gathered to hear their times Jimmy was still out
there taking down the signs.
recent times he made the Heatherhall junction his own and was nearly
always stationed there with his red flag to get riders safely through
the right-hand turn: it was always a good day if Jim let you cut the
corner at speed!
The SVTTA send their condolences to Jim's family and all at Fife
18th. September 2013
funeral was held today in Kirkcaldy, under a blue sky that was possibly
the best that a Fife autumn could be expected to muster in the
doubt whether the Kirkcaldy crematorium has ever been so well attended.
Although I'm not good at such things I would guess that the total
attendance may have been in the region of 400 or so. Certainly well
into the hundreds anyway and well outwith the capacity of the small
spilt between non-cycling and cycling people would have been about half
and half I guess. A man with so many friends, but that isn't at all
surprising. Many cyclists had come by bike and the majority of the
others wore their club jerseys. The Fife TT scene was there in large
numbers, but the rest of the country was well represented too.
top of my head I can recall seeing jerseys from:
- Spokes RT
Rightmove Windows RT
- Denny RC
- Law Wheelers
- St.Christopher CC
- Glasgow Couriers
- Angus Bike Chain
- Discovery JCC
that I will have forgotten a few but please don't be offended.
The SVTTA were there in force with most of the committee present
including close Speed family friend, George McLaughlan.
Cycling were represented by president Alasdair MacLennan and CEO Craig
Burn, with other staff members present too.
mood was at times somber and at other times a little more
200 cyclists together and it's inevitable that they will start to talk
(loudly) about cycling! I don't think that Ali would have minded
though. There was a hush as he was carried
coffin adorned by his Spiuk TT helmet, his Sidi shoes and of course his
Fife Century jersey.
1/8th of those present made it into the chapel, but nobody minded a jot.
folk didn't seem inclined to leave and there was much chat and
reminiscing before finally people headed off home or on to the hotel.
but memorable day.
funeral will take place at Kirkaldy Crematorium on Wednesday
18th. September at 13:30, retiring afterwards to Dunnikier
Mhairi has requested that all cyclists attending should please wear
their club colours.
5th. September 2013
Alistair Speed who died today in an accident with a car in Fife,
Strathmiglo and Gateside.
No doubt Ali was out training for the
forthcoming Fife 50 which has now been cancelled.
Sincere condolences to Archie, Mhairi, Gavin and
the entire Speed dynasty - the big man will be sadly missed.