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The Reyrolle Story: 40 – Cycling To Work

Robert Owen continues his history of one of Tyneside’s most famous manufacturing firms, Reyolle.

To purchase a copy of Robert’s book The Reyrolle Story please click on http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reyrolle-Story-History-Co-Ltd/dp/1905295073/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245678876&sr=1-1

During these troubled years, Reyrolle's sports and interest groups continued to prosper. In 1969, the Jig and Tool Drawing Office achieved a double by being the first team to win both the football and cricket interdepartmental competitions in the same year. The firm's football team also won the prestigious Wearside League and Monkwearmouth Charity Cup, while Bob Smith's cricket second XI won the Tyneside Senior League's 'B' Division championship three years in succession. The Reyrolle Leek Society ran a full-scale Vegetable Show, and Howie Campbell from the Light Engineering Shop won the golf prize.

The firm's ten-pin bowling knockout competition was revived and the Philatelic Society's annual show produced high standards of entry. The Engineering Department were the surprise winners of the bowls tournament and the Test Plant made a clean sweep of the table tennis competition.

William Paterson the long-serving Chairman of Reyrolle's Swimming Club, was awarded the Service Cross by the Commonwealth Council of the Life Saving Society (the highest award of the RLSS) for, among other things, training over 700 employees to pass various life-saving exams. Alan Robertson of the Design Department was also part of the team that won the National 24 Hour Cycle Championship. Last but not least, a "Reyrolle Lass" named Lynn Myers was chosen as Newcastle's Miss Europe in a 1972 beauty Contest.

Cycling to work was still a popular mode of transport for many of Reyrolle's employees during the seventies, but with the growth of road traffic, accidents were not infrequent. Well known Thomas Craig, a Time-Keeper at Hebburn Works who had cycled to work for 27 years, unfortunately lost his life in such an accident in February 1970. Manyyears later Ernie Ovington, a draughtsman, came off his bike in Victoria Road, while returning from work and fractured his skull. Fortunately he recovered and returned to the drawing office after a lengthy period of recuperation.


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