FRANK BLAKE, 1930 – 2020
Very sadly, Frank, a life member of the club for at least five decades, passed away recently. He joined the club in April 1945, when one had to be 16 years old to apply, by being economical with his age. National Service saw him with the R.A.F. in Yorkshire and riding time trials with fields of over 200 riders. After resuming a civilian life and marrying Sally, they moved to Suffolk Street in Hove and was the owner of the first car in the road. Forty years later, he remarked how he had trouble finding a parking space in the same road. He worked in Queens Road, Brighton in the 1960’s and 1970’s selling and repairing typewriters prior to starting a bike shop, Kingfisher Cycles, in St. James Street, Kemp Town in 1980. This was a tough time for the trade and he did well to survive almost two years. After that, he drove taxis until his retirement.
Frank raced in time trials in the early 1950’s including a 2-8 “50” and 4-32 “100” before stopping racing in order to care for his father who had carried a shrapnel wound from WW2 and latterly worked on the local buses. Frank seemed proud that he never had to pay a fare when his father was the conductor. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Frank organised a popular 4-up team time trial around each April, running for several years. He was the club’s secretary for many years, including the early 90’s, which were a lean time for clubs in general and the Mitre in particular had only some 30 members – it was said we could hold a committee meeting in a telephone box but the Mitre still managed to run a National 24 hours Championship in 1994. Deservedly he was club President for several terms and, quite simply, without him the Mitre would not be in existence today. He would always be found at club events until becoming poor of health, about three years ago, and every Wednesday evening during the track season he could be found at Preston Park dressing room corner cheering on the competitors.
Frank recently reached the finishing line of life and he will be greatly missed by his widow, Sally, and children Stephen, Martin and Simone, plus anyone that had the pleasure of knowing this very kind and genuine man.