The untimely death in January, in his 68th year, of Liverpool Century RC’s life member George Darlington has robbed his club of a remarkable racing man and an inspirational mentor of both young and old alike.
It is impossible to put a price on such a relationship. But it must be a reflection of all that is good in club life, when one of best riders in the Century’s 94 years history evolves into an inspirational sage.
The following is an edited extract from an obituary written by his son and clubmate, Peter Darlington.
George joined the Century in 1957. Although he strayed for two years as a drummer in a beat group in the 1960s, he returned to cycling to became one of the best club riders in the Century’s 94 years history.
He won many club trophies with the Century: – Vets Time Trial eight times, seven in a row 1997 to 2003. Best all Rounder in 1969 and 1973. Handicap trophy 1967, 68, 69, 70 and 73. Incidentally his brother Harold won it in 65.
Best 12 hour 1969 and 1973. Vets road race trophy 2001. Vets time trial trophy eight times, seven consecutively, 1997 to 2003. Club member of the year in 1998, 2003 and 2009.
Wining the Jack Harold Shield on more than seven occasions, his first win in 1969 and his last two in 2002 and 2003, is a credit to his fitness and ability. For to win this shield you have an aggregate time of riding one 25 mile, two 50’s, and a 100 mile time trial. This is a record that members of the club don’t think will ever be equalled.
He rode many road races throughout the Northwest and beyond, too many to mention, but he was proud of his last achievement in road racing when he was placed second behind the legendary Les West in the Isle of Man Vets Road Race UCI Championship in 2003.
On the official side he organised road races, time trials, he was a delegate for British Cycling, LTTCA, and RTTC and carried out official positions with them. George was a long serving club official, he produced the club newsletter for years, treasurer, chairman and club secretary, which he held, till the end.
Throughout the years George encouraged all comers to cycling and passed on his experience and enthusiasm for the sport, he always put the needs of others before the needs of himself and many soon realised that George’s back wheel was the one to follow if they were to improve their cycling skills or even on occasion make it home at the end of a club run. Many have commented that he was always on hand with a bar of chocolate to fuel those who were struggling and he would never leave any rider behind even if it meant his training was interrupted.
He was an inspiration to many over the years and was respected by both old and young,
It is to his credit that young professionals such as Matt Brammier, Jonny McEvoy and Mark McNally have expressed their gratitude for George’s involvement in their days at the Century. He remained a regular supporter and spectator at the schoolboys’ road race series at Southport until his death. Many of those who knew him have stated that his love of the sport and life was infectious and inspiring.
George was always seeking ways to increase interest in cycling and the Century, he actively sought out opportunities to promote the sport and was always keen to utilise any support offered by other organisations to get people on their bikes this included local business and Government initiatives.
He was the first to volunteer to attend trade shows, open days or major cycling events where he would assist in the set up of a stand and spend hours talking to visitors about the joys of cycling.
His enthusiasm for life and cycling even when he was battling cancer was an inspiration to all that knew him; he never had a bad word to say about anyone and saw every situation even a bad one as an opportunity to develop a good outcome. One of George’s favourite sayings was “if we all do a little bit, together we can achieve a lot” He was a legend and will never be forgotten.
George Darlington leaves his wife, Wendy, his brother and fellow cyclist Harold, sister Ada, his children Karen and Peter and many other family members.
Liverpool Century Road Club and George’s family will be organising a memorial event.