BY SHUJAUL AZAM
Six hours for a lunch does sound excessive but to four ex Metro Cycle Racing Club riders from the 1950s it wasn’t long enough
They were meeting recently for the first time since going their separate ways 58 years ago.
Throughout the 1950s, Greenwich boys Brian Ward, Ken Jacobs, Joe James and Brian Redfern were team mates who raced for the Metro club which was based at the Meridian cycle shop in Trafalgar Road adjacent to the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
All would train together, doing 30+ miles each evening after work and then take part in 60 to 120-mile road races at the weekend. Between them they notched up numerous wins and team successes.
In 1958 they travelled to Ghent in Belgium to undergo weeks of racing from the famous Cafe den Engel, experiencing the strenuous style of continental racing.
Returning to England they continued racing for several more seasons, but by 1961 life took over with two years’ National Service, marriages, careers and further education they became spread across different parts of the UK and around the world. Eventually, they lost touch.
Remarkably, for the past five years they had all independently tried to trace each other, with little success, until last summer when it all came together.
To everyone’s surprise, Ken Jacobs and Brian Ward discovered they had been living within two miles of each other near Bexley for the past 20 years, Joe was found in Herefordshire and Brian Redfern lives in Norway.
When they were reunited at the lunch at Tower Bridge emotions ran high, the bond and comradeship they had developed during their teens was undiluted and it seemed like only yesterday they had been pounding their legs up hills and down dales in competitions.
Their careers had taken them to the North Sea oil rigs, USA, Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Aden and Norway. Six hours was insufficient time to study photos, let alone all their life stories.
Another meeting is planned and in the mean time they all interact by email. Despite most of them close to an 80th birthday, they still ride bikes, play golf and table tennis, and one has completed marathons in London, Paris and Brussels.
If any members of the public know the whereabouts or have any information on the following other Metro club mates, please get in touch with The Mercury.
The search is still on to reunite with David (Tambo) Jenkins, formerly from Armitage Road, Greenwich, Albert (Gabby) Hayes, formerly from 8 Fingal Street, Greenwich, Peter Russell, formerly from 10 Topley Street, Eltham, Well Hall, Vernon Williams, formerly from Charlton Road’s junction with Invicta Road.