Bury Cyclists' Touring Club

Last Updated 12/11/2016

Walter N Pilkington 1923 - 2009

 

Walter Pilkington died on Thursday 27th August 2009 at his care home near his home in Edenfield. He leaves his wife Norma and daughter Susan. Walter, 86, was a founder member when Bury Section reformed after the war in July 1946 and he remained active with the Section until 1994 - almost 50 years!  He was Section President from 1987 until 1994.  His funeral service was at Edenfield Methodist Church on Monday 7th September, with committal at Accrington Crematorium. There was a reception afterwards at the Sykeside Hotel, Haslingden.

 

Scroll down to see a selection of photos featuring Walter over the years.

 

Jim Holden, Frank Brierley and John Butterworth have written the following:

 

Jim Holden writes:

The passing of Walter is the end of an era for Bury CTC, an era which saw the club enjoy possibly its most successful time for rider turnouts on club runs during the 70s & 80s. This was in no small part due to him encouraging people who came in his shop to sample going out with the club. Walter’s first cycle shop was located on Moorgate in Bury. The two small shops he had when I bought my first bike off him in the 1960s were merged into one on The Rock, and when the block was demolished to make way for Wilkinsons, he moved into the much larger adjacent store where things really took off.  In addition to attending club runs, Walter also raced, and toured on the continent before marrying Norma and then attending many Birthday rides and Rough Stuff Fellowship Easter meets, to which he was only too willing to give me a lift to as I didn’t drive!

A large turnout came to pay their last respects at his funeral, some using Walter's own favourite transport, the bike to get there, and a beautiful sunny day somehow seemed to sum up everything that anyone who knew him could possibly say about him-RIP Walter

 

Frank Brierley writes: 

I first met Walter in 1951 when I joined the CTC and Walter was the Section Secretary.  Shortly afterwards, in March 1952, I received a copy of the famous directive on club cycling which is reproduced in the Autumn 2009 issue of ‘Northern Wheel’.

 

Walter was born in 1923 and finished his secondary education at Bury Technical College. Shortly after beginning his working life the Second World War broke out and Walter joined the Home Guard.  Soon afterwards he received his call-up papers and joined the Communication Branch of the Royal Navy. He saw service in a corvette on the Arctic convoys to Russia and afterwards enjoyed warmer weather in the Gulf of Aden.

 

On returning to civilian life he had several clerical jobs but his real aspiration was to own his own cycle shop.  This ambition was realised in 1952 when he opened his own shop on Moorgate in Bury.

 

Walter had been actively involved in the re-formation and running of Bury CTC after the War in July 1946 and he could now carry on his passion for cycling in his working life. In addition to going on CTC club runs Walter was a keen racing cyclist and was a member of the three local racing clubs. Having his own cycle shop seemed to give him greater inspiration for racing and his times in his 40’s and 50’s were often better than he had achieved in his 20’s.

 

One of the highlights of the cycling year in the 50’s and 60’s was a visit to Mrs.Metcalfe’s B&B in the Yorkshire Dales village of Askrigg.  After a wonderful day’s cycling Walter would take us in his van to the Saturday night young farmers dance in Hawes. In 1969 he flew to Barcelona with Jack Ellis and they then cycled back home, a distance of some 1200 miles.

 

Walter had joined the Rough Stuff Fellowship about the same time as myself and we had both enjoyed the cycling and social life of  the Lancashire group which was then based in Wigan. At the 1973 Easter Meet  at Middleton-in-Teesdale Walter introduced us to his fiancee, Norma.  Easter was early that year and the weather particularly cold but this did not prevent us from going over High Cup Nick. Our wheels were being continually jammed by frozen snow compacting against the mudguards and one member lost a shoe in Maize Beck but did not realize this until re-mounting his bike on the main road to Middleton.  Despite this introduction to cycling Norma was not put off and later in the same year she and Walter were married and I was their best man.

 

For the next 30 or so years she and Walter enjoyed cycling together with the CTC on club runs and annual Birthday rides and with the Rough Stuff Fellowship on their annual Easter Meets. They were also regular attenders at the Kirkpatrick Macmillan meets in Scotland. Norma also worked in the shop which had meantime moved twice and was now in The Rock. In 1988 they decided to retire and could therefore spend more of their time on the tandem.  They continued to enjoy their cycling until Walter’s ill-health curtailed their cycling activities.

 

As Jim Holden has said Walter’s death marked the end of an era for Bury CTC stretching back to 1946 from when Walter had been almost continuously on the Committee, Secretary, Treasurer - latterly President. He was a CTC life member.

 

 

John Butterworth writes:

Born in 1923 in Chesham, Bury, Lancashire, Walter Nuttall Pilkington was a founder member of Bury CTC when it reformed after the war in July 1946. 

 

I got to know Walter (and Norma) when I first joined the CTC in 1986 and decided to go out on a club run with my local Section. It was Walter and Norma’s enthusiastic welcome that got me hooked on the pleasures of club riding. I rarely saw Walter ride a solo cycle - he was usually on the tandem with Norma on club runs. The pace and distance of the runs was ideal for the beginner and as a result I stayed with it.

 

In 1988 Walter and Norma supplied blue, red and white cycling jackets with the Bury CTC / Pilkington Cycles logos which were issued free of charge to members. In the early 1990s we had very enjoyable club meetings at Walter and Norma’s home where they always offered drinks to the members present. As a result of this the meetings suddenly started to be very well attended and it was only a matter of time before we had to revert to using a public house.

 

I always used to use Walter's shop for my cycling needs. This was due to the help and friendly service given and, of course, the fact that there was a discount for CTC members. It was a privilege to have known you Walter.

 

 

Walter in his Moorgate shop

 

Walter in competition - two newspaper reports from the sixties

 

Walter with his winning shot of Peter Graham in a Bury CTC Photographic Competition

 

Walter and Norma in 1978

 

Walter 1980

 

Walter with Harold Jay at a pub stop c.1983

 

Walter and Norma at Ribblehead Viaduct. They did sometimes ride solos!

 

A rare shot of Walter and Norma riding their tandem on one of the Birthday Rides

 

Walter and Norma descend on their tandem

 

Walter with Norma outside the shop at the start of a Bury CTC Invitation Ride c.1989