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Tom Clements 1934 - 2013

We are sad to announce the death of Tom Clements who rode for Barnesbury in the 1950s and 1960s.

Tommy had been out of cycling for a number of years, and it was only when his friend Jim was clearing his effects that his family and friends discovered his cycling past when they came across his medals and trophies. This prompted them to get in touch with the Club.

Tommy had great success in the track leagues of the 50’s and 60’s and was described by N Brodie the Clubs Track Racing Secretary in 1952 as:

“…our most promising protégé Tommy Clements, who in my opinion will be showing his back wheel to a lot of track men in the coming season. Although Tommy did not win any championships he took two 1sts, three 2nds and one 3rd in Open meetings.  Anyone who has seen Tommy Riding will endorse my remarks when I say “he will go places”

And in 1955

“Tom Clements was also to the fore, giving good performances and headaches to several top notch riders with his spirited riding. If he concentrates on the track in 1955, who knows?”

Eric Potts

I knew Tommy from 1959 when I joined the Barnesbury. He taught me a lot about sprinting when I knew nothing and he also lent me his track bike, and although too small for me it stood me in good stead at the beginning of my track career. Without him I could not have started on the track as I could not afford another bike.

Tommy also took me to the border grass track meetings at Hawick, Galashiels etc. in his little Morris Minor. Where I won several events.

If you look at the 1960 cyclo cross video on youtube he is the bulldog like man in the Barnesbury 'V' white top, who appears several times.

A very polite man off the bike, but nobody messed with him on it. He was as hard as nails.

Selected Palmares

1950 1st 1000yds NCU Newcastle Championships
1952 2nd Barnesbury Junior 10 mile Competition
1952 1st Handicap Barnesbury Open 25
1952 Raleigh Track League Trophy (with D Spooner & J Thirwell)
1953 2nd  1000yds NCU Newcastle Championships
1953 Barnesbury 1000yds Track Champion
1953 Barnesbury Endurance Test (120m in 10hrs)
1958 2nd 440yds BCF Divisional Championship
1960 Barnesbury Medium Gear (72) 25. 1st Handicap (01:11:12)
1961 Barnesbury 50. 1st Handicap (02:15:38)

Tom’s family have kindly donated his cycling medallions and Trophy to the club (see photos below). A gesture that we are very appreciative of and we thank them.

Our condolences to his wife Jeannie and friends.

Jim Jamieson of Heaton & District Model Power Boat Club has kindly provided the following information on his life after cycling with Barnesbury.

Thomas Ernest Clement

Tom was born on 14th July 1934 and lived the whole of his life in Newcastle after his father's death, Tom and his younger brother John were brought by their mother Gladys a schoolteacher in Newcastle's west end. Tom's two loves were cycling and engineering I believe he started cycling with the Barnesbury Cycle Club in the late 1940's and it seems he was very successful.

His other passion was model engineering he joined Heaton & District Model Power Boat (formed 1910 and still going strong) in 1950, I guess he split his spare time between cycling and the boat club at that time.

I first met Tom when I joined the boat club in the mid 1960's, he was a very friendly and enthusiastic model engineer running both steam powered and petrol engined boats to great success, he went on to represent Great Britain three times in the late 60's and early 70's in the European Straight Running Championships which culminated in him being crowned European Champion.

Tom also ran tethered hydroplanes both locally and nationally with great success, not content with shop bought motors he designed and built his own in his workshop at home.

Tom was a time served engineer/draughtsman and was employed in the shipyards and Winthrop s in Newcastle until he was in his mid 50's, he then worked as a freelance draughtsman until his retirement. He was a bachelor most of his life living in a pair of flats with his mother in Fawdon, it was only after her death he married Jeannie in 2002. He sold the flats and they bought a bungalow nearby were Tom built a large workshop to house his many machine tools, his life seemed perfect.

Tom complained of shoulder problems in 2010 and after numerous trips to his GP and medication the problem appear to have cleared up, however in 2011 the problems returned and he was referred to the RVI, where unfortunately he was diagnosed with cancer. Tom being very a private person he only allowed a small number of his closest friends to know. After treatment things seemed to improve however although still attending the club he wasn't able to run his beloved boats.

In mid 2012 Tom's health started to deteriorate and he was eventually admitted to the RVI in early December and sadly he passed away there on 10th January 2013.

Tom was a stalwart of the boatclub and was the secretary for a number of years and then later the treasurer a post he held until 18months before his death. The club lost not only a valuable member but great friend and generally nice man, he is greatly missed by all who knew him.

Being a close friend of Tom for nearly fifty years I was tasked in his will to dispose of his models and the contents of his workshop, it was during this mammoth task I found the medallions and silver cup.

Jeannie his widow had no knowledge of his cycling history, although I remember him sometimes cycling to club events at Paddy Freemans Park in Newcastle on an old lightweight touring cycle and him reminiscing about his time in Barnesbury Cycle Club. 

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