We are deeply saddened by the passing of our popular and well respected club member Jeff English, following a long battle with lung cancer.
Jeff was a big part of the club for many years. A past committee member, a brilliant volunteer and outstanding Cycle coach.
Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him will remember how welcoming, encouraging and supportive he was to everyone – especially new members. It is very rare to have seen Jeff without a big smile on his face. Jeff was an active committee member of the club who put a lot of time and energy into building up the junior side. Jeff was involved with setting up the Flyers and built up this section with a passion, quite unique at the time and is still regarded as one of the best junior group rides in the region. Many of our current race team are graduates of this section, having been led by Jeff on a Saturday morning.
A member of the coaching team from the early days, he instilled the love of cycling into many young riders in the area, teaching them the vital skills to ride their bike well and remained dedicated to this until his illness prevented him.
His positive attitude meant he was not long off his bike and he enjoyed, along with a large group of adults and youngsters, a fantastic trip to the velodrome. He certainly taught others a few tricks whilst he was there and showed off that trademark smile. It was great to see him bounce back so strongly from his first treatments.
He was always one of the first to volunteer for events both with the club and wider out in the region, including cycling festivals and the ultimate bike race – The Tour de France, when it came to the town. He also did a lot of work in trying to get a cycle track to Otley, something which he believed would benefit the town greatly.
Jeff loved to travel, he was in his words ‘ticking off his bucket list’, which included many trips to cycle in Majorca, where he joined lots of other Otley members in the sunshine, making many friends over evening meals, as well as out on the road. Following his diagnosis Jeff and his family did lots of work for Cancer Research. His charity ride with daughter Sophie along the Danube, raised thousands of pounds for the cause and won them the Grand Tour Award at the Club dinner – you can read all about their adventure here. He was also due to cycle from Amsterdam to Berlin in 2 weeks time and was training for it as late as March.
We will all remember happy times with a great man.