Almost one hundred members, friends and invited guests gathered at the Halfway House restaurant last Friday for Banbridge Cycling Club’s annual Club Dinner and Prizegiving Presentation.
The event marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of Banbridge CC – by far the largest and longest established cycling club in the Banbridge district.
Club Chairman Maurice Mayne thanked everyone for supporting the event and offered a special welcome to race sponsors Sean Travers (Travers Engineering, Rathfriland) and Stevie O’Hagan (O’hagan Tyres, Laurencetown) before introducing the special guest for the evening - 80 year old Norman Skelly.
Norman was one of the earliest members of the club back in the late 1940s and he enthralled the audience with recollections from those days and later, mentioning the names of early racers some of whom are thankfully still alive – if not riding their bikes.
Norman himself was a successful racer managing to win some of the cups he went on to present to the winners later in the evening – including the Skelly Cup itself, presented to the club by his late father around 1948, and still competed for to this day.
The presentation was performed by guest speaker Norman Skelly and ably assisted by Maurice and Brian Curran. Norman had the particular pleasure of presenting the Skelly cup to this year’s popular winner Ian Cochrane.
Two riders, Kevin Wilson and Joe Penny, each laid claim to quite a haul of silverware but despite that it was pleasing to see the the remainder of trophies being won by a large cross section of riders this year.
The evening was a resounding success. Much of the credit belongs to Chairman Maurice and his helpers who, having organised the catering arrangements also managed to arrange a specially commissioned 70th anniversary cake, a slide slow featuring club activities and riders during the season and a raffle for the generously donated items supplied by members.