Cyclists pay tribute to the fallen at 95th Meriden service

The National Cyclists' Memorial at Meriden
Around 200 people attended the 95th Cyclists’ Memorial Service last Sunday on Meriden Green – site of the National Cyclists’ Memorial.

The service was led by the Reverend Lynda Lilley of St Lawrence Church, Meriden, the West Midlands village traditionally regarded as the centre of England.

Hymns were All Things Bright and Beautiful, Abide With Me – during which seven wreaths from local sections and clubs were laid – and finally, One More Step Along The World I Go.

Lewis Hall made a bible reading and Dave Hearn recited a poem. A presentation of a framed cycle print for Harry Child, who had organised the service for the previous 25 years, was made to his wife Sheila by Dave Hearn. Unfortunately Harry was not well enough to attend the service.

The local WI had been busy baking cakes which were enjoyed by many of the riders in the village hall after the service.

More than 200 services were established across the country by cycling groups in the years after World War I, to honour fallen colleagues and give thanks for the safe return of others, and the National Cyclists’ Memorial was erected in Meriden in 1921. But only a handful of these services remain today.

The ‘Biking Bishop of Selby’ – the Right Reverend John Thomson – gave the address at the 90th annual Cyclists’ Service of Remembrance in the North Yorkshire village of Coxwold on Sunday 8 May.

And there has been a Cyclists’ Memorial Service held at Castle Combe, Wiltshire, every year since 27 May 1945.

The Castle Combe service is a celebration of cycling, and a service of thanksgiving for the men in cycling battalions who fell in the Great War and for the many cyclist soldiers, commandos and paras who did not return from World War II.

Now organised by Cycle Bristol CTC, this year’s Castle Combe service took place at St Andrew’s Church on Sunday 10 April and was well attended by cycling groups throughout the West Country.