It was an occasion to remember recently for Bann Valley Road Club as it celebrated the silver anniversary of the club’s formation.
Club members and guests were greeted by a champagne reception and had a pleasant few minutes for chat and reminiscing before the excellent meal served by the very professional Wild Duck staff.
Following the meal club Chairman Lawrence Maguire welcomed the special guests for the night Tommy and Marian Lamb, Chairman and Secretary of Cycling Ulster.
Lawrence then went on to give a brief but detailed history of the club and noted that along with himself two other founding members were also present - Honorary Club President Vincent McDonnell and the club’s main sponsor for all of those years, Michael Clarke.
The Chairman then went on to thank the numerous individuals members and non members who over the years have turned out over the past quarter-of-a-century to make the club what it is today.
They included sponsors, marshalls , drivers, the ladies responsible for the refreshments after events (as Marian Lamb stated Bann Valley is known throughout cycling circles for its refeshments) and finally the members themselves for the hard work and dedication shown week after week.
With the Chairman’s speech having received generous applause it was time for the prize giving, which this year was dominated by the ever increasing and improving youth of the club.
The youth section were first to be awarded their prizes and with the newly formed youth competitions this season each of the sections, time trial, road race and hill climb were recognised.
This section culminated with the award of the Conor McAteer Perpetual trophy to the most promising youth rider who has performed on the national stage bringing club recognition to the wider cycling audience.
This year it went to Niall Lawrence who among other achievements collected a silver and two bronze medals in his 3 under 14 races at the Ireland National Youth Track championships held in Dublin on July 19.
The other major winners were Gerard McNally in the Bannside Electrical Services ten mile TT league and youth rider Shea McTaggart who along with his own youth trophies also collected the GMC Electrical senior road race league.
The ladies’ awards went to Deirdre McAuley, Adele MvcNally and Bernie McNally.
The visitors’ section in the GMC Electrical road race league was won by Philip Bremner who rides for the Lakeland club.
A few special awards were then presented to Chairman Lawrence Maguire, Secretary Oliver Hunter and to the sponsors Michael Clarke, Clarke Facades, the club’s long time main sponsor, Gerry McCullagh GMC Electrical, Gerard McNally Bannside Electrical Services, Adrian McPeake Bicycle Shack and to Paul Clarke Sizzlers.
The Chairman then presented a special award to our Honorary President and founder member Vincent McDonnell who at eighty years of age is still on the bike at least twice a week and can still give people less than half his age a good run for their money.
In true appreciation of thanks and reflecting his popularity within the club Vincy was given a spontaneous standing ovation by those present as he approached the stage to receive the presentation.
Lawrence and Vincy then cut the fabulous anniversary cake and with the formalities out of the way the band was introduced and the party began.
The club’s annual general meeting will be held in Portglenone Community Centre on Wednesday, December 10, at 7.30pm.
All members are asked to attend.