Mildenhall Cycling Club has celebrated the life of a valued member whose history with the group stretched across three decades.
Jim Staines, affiliated with the club since the early 1980s and made an honorary member in 2009, died on September 13 following an eight-year battle with ill health.
Around 50 people attended his funeral at West Suffolk Crematorium on Monday and most of those moved on to a celebration of his life at Mildenhall Cricket Club in Wamil Way.
The 72-year-old cyclist had recently celebrated 52 years of marriage to wife Vera, also an honorary member. The couple had enjoyed their two-wheeled pastime together in many forms over the years.
His daughter Mandy Burchett said: “Cycling was his life. He had been cycling since he was a teenager. My sister and I were almost brought up on a bike, and I caught the bug.”
The former racing cyclist was still competing until 2002, when he underwent double bypass surgery. He was diagnosed with heart failure in 2006, and in 2007 was told by a consultant his condition was degenerative and he had two years at most to live.
Mandy said: “He had been poorly for quite a number of years. We had him for a lot longer than we should have done, and I am very grateful for it.
“It was difficult for him the last few years because he couldn’t ride. After his surgery he did get back on his bike, but he did a lot less.”
Jim rode a multitude of bikes during his long cycling career, including a tandem trike on which he and Vera set a number of race records.
Through his time at the club, Jim supported Mandy’s eldest son and other youngsters to help them start their racing careers.
He and Vera had a holiday home in cycling-savvy Holland where they spent months at a time during his later years.
Jim wished for donations to go to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) which supplied him with a mobility scooter in the last years of his life.