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Thread: Bill Swann

  1. #1

    Default Bill Swann

    We are sorry to announce that Bill Swann passed away on Monday 30th December 2013 after suffering from a number of health problems in the last few years. His funeral will be held at the City of London Cemetery on Friday 10th January at 4:00 pm. There will be a reception afterwards at the Golden Fleece, 166 Capel Road.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005


    Bill along with his wife Molly did such a lot for Women's racing. He will be sadly missed.
    Joan Potts

  3. #3


    With permission from daughter Frances and grand-daughter Angela, I've put together a write-up for those of you who knew Bill but couldn't get there:

    Yesterday was a wonderful send-off for Bill. Just over 300 people crammed into the (thankfully large) North Crematorium at City of London but even so, it was standing-room only for half of us.

    Bill's coffin was carried in with his favourite song playing - Dancing Queen by Abba. The minister welcomed everyone and said we were all there to celebrate and commemorate Bill's life. Bill saw his 80th birthday last November.

    Frances, Bill and Molly's daughter, was a superstar. She gave a wonderful, detailed and moving tribute to her Dad, leading us through his whole life, from growing up in the East End during the Second World War blitz, being evacuated to Birmingham but then brought back when his mum realised all wasn't well with how the evacuees were being cared for, then moving to various parts of London to escape the worst of the bombings, and eventually into a knock-down-price war-damaged house where his family had to rebuild the front wall, and all the window glass.

    Carpentry was his first trade and it developed into contracts manager, working across London on many stores (BHS) and buildings. Frances said family car trips were punctuated with frequent "see that building? that's one of mine." Even building a palace in Saudi Arabia for a prince.

    In his younger days Bill was a talented cyclist himself, a lifelong member of the Easterley RC, holding the club 30 record (on the slow E1 course) for many years, but his racing took a back seat when, aged just 18, he met his wife Molly, a very talented cyclist, and devoted himself to developing, coaching and supporting her through her international cycle racing career.

    They were both heavily involved with the Womens Cycle Racing Association. Bill's Transit van a recognisable feature at events, as they promoted events, and took WCRA womens' teams to races in the UK, and abroad in Holland, France, Portugal, and promoted or helped promote many WCRA race events. For many of these women, it was their only opportunity to get international race experience, and very valuable it was to them too.

    Bill and the Transit were also an annual feature on the long-running Tandem Weekend each November, picking up sick and broken tandems and ferrying them to the hotel.

    Family life was extremely important to Bill and Molly. They had 3 children, Reg, Terry and Frances, and many grand children, and in recent years, great grandchildren too. Bill got to attend 3 of his grandchildren's weddings too.

    Frances recalled the annual family holiday to Wareham, with the speedboat, the waterskis, the caravan, the bicycles, and how every year there would be other people tagging along as Bill was gregarious and generous, and loved to see his friends having fun. There was an audible murmur around the hall as Frances recounted that, as many of the cyclists present murmured "yes I was one of those who went to Wareham with Bill and Molly". Very sweet.

    One of Frances' family memory highlights is of Bill and Molly driving the family speedboat, Goldrush, while she and her two brothers Reg and Terry all managed to get up on waterskis at the same time for a brief moment!

    Bill was a very thoughtful person. He hated anyone to feel lonely and made regular trips to see people especially those who lived on their own and were in their later years, on special dates like birthdays.

    Molly died 9 years ago, almost to the day. Her passing left a huge hole in everyone's lives, particularly Bill's, and Frances said it was due to his wonderful family and friends that he'd been able to cope with the ensuing years.

    Although Frances didn't and wouldn't have said so, those who knew the family would say that it was also due to very large part to Frances' wonderful care of her Dad too.

    As the curtains closed, another of Bill's favourite songs, I Had the Last Waltz With You played, and as we filed outdoors into the darkness (it had been a 4pm start), Bill had chosen Jungle Book's Bare Necessities of Life.

    One of the most moving things I saw at yesterday's gathering was how many of Bill and Molly's "cycling club children" were there, as well as all their cycling peers of more their age group. There were people there who we each recognised but hadn't seen for 20-30 years. All of us now in our 40s, 50s, but all of us having first met Bill and Molly when we were cycling-mad teenagers in the Eastway and ECCA Festival heydays.

    They were a strong and wonderful, almost parental, influence in many of our cycling lives. Their passing marks the end of an era and we were all extremely honoured to have known them.

    RIP Bill, you were and always will be fondly remembered.

  4. #4


    Thanks Sue. Unfortunately I couldn't be there as I was out of the country on business.

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