Doreen Leheup 1926 – 2022

Left: Doreen as a young woman on what looks like a hostelling tour in Devon. Right: Doreen with daughter Helen and grand-daughter Amy (grandson Matthew is behind Doreen's friend) on the 2004 CTC birthday ride in Derbyshire

Doreen Leheup 1926 – 2022

Doreen Leheup, former CTC Councillor, tour leader, and doyenne of Notts CTC, died in her sleep age 96 in July: a peaceful end to a long life well lived

Born in the shadow of WWI, Doreen and her sister were lucky to have a dad who grew their own produce and a mum who made all their clothes, perhaps the origins of a very self-reliant person. Although she did well at school, there was no money for uniform or a tennis racket, so she wasn’t able to take up the grammar school place she had won and had a mere two years of elementary education before the outbreak of WW2. At only 14 Doreen had a job in a printworks and was travelling home in the blackout. She continued her education at night school and progressed to work in the accounts department.

Doreen’s sister cycled to work but after a collision with a bus she didn’t ride again and Doreen acquired the bike. She was soon exploring with friends and then heard about the Notts CTC. She rode to their clubroom behind a pub and bravely ventured in: thus began a life-long passion for cycletouring and the Club.

Doreen rode with other young people in Peak Section, undertaking increasingly long and tough rides exploring the wildest places she could reach. She found the noise and pollution of the industrial city very hard to bear, and sought solace in the silent moorlands of the Peak District.

Doreen met Harry Leheup through cycling and they married in 1951. By then she was working for the City Treasury and enjoyed going to the opera, queuing after work for cheap tickets. Doreen gave up work to become a homemaker and mother, but kept cycling with the children: Helen and Aidan.

As traffic grew and cycling faced more challenges, Doreen started campaigning to maintain cycle use of roads and paths under threat. She was soon on committees at local, regional and National level. She served on the CTC Council for some years and worked relentlessly for cycling. It was a very different era: authorities had to be persuaded to allow cycling in country parks, in forests and on new rail trails, things we take for granted now.

Some campaigns took a very long time: establishing cyclists’ right to continue to use a quiet road out of Nottingham when the landowner tried to close it took decades, but Doreen stoically continued to do what she believed was right, no matter what.

Doreen also organised cycling holidays in the UK and abroad, and it’s a tribute to the quality of those experiences that the participants had an annual reunion for so long that the children of the initial cohort carried on the arrangements.

After being widowed, Doreen kept riding, attending CTC Birthday Rides with her children and grandchildren, and enjoying cycling holidays.

Doreen’s efforts were recognised with a CTC certificate of merit after 42 years membership in 1986. She continued to ride and write letters well into her eighties, until the ill health of her declining years eventually made this impossible.

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