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A Tribute to Roger Bentley
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A Tribute to Roger Bentley

 

A Tribute to Roger Bentley

 

Roger Bentley, who died on 6h August 2019 aged 83 years, leaves his wife Janice, brother Keith, his sister in law Barbara and his nephews Russell and Darren. His wider family did a magnificent job co-ordinating the celebration of his life, which was held at the South Leicestershire Crematorium on 5 September 2019 and was attended by a large section of the local cycling community. The event highlighted his great love of life, which was centred round his early passion for cycling, socialising and walking and his appreciation of a wide range of musical genres.

There were eulogies from his brother Keith and long standing friend Colleen Powell. Keith recalled the love of cycling that he shared with Roger. This dates from their boyhood years when the Newry Knobbly Knees CC was established by six lads from Newry Road on the Saffron Estate. This was followed by the Phoenix RC, a sub-group of the Ravenhurst Youth Club, whose rides visited far flung places in Warwickshire, the favourite being the ‘scrumpy run’ to Stratford on Avon. Later, following three years in the army, Roger was instrumental in setting up the Marcinelley RC. Unfortunately this only lasted for two years when, like its predecessor the Phoenix, it was disbanded as its members ‘fell victim’ to the call of National Service.

Marriage and settling down in Wigston did nothing to blunt Roger and Keith’s the appetite for cycling. They joined the Magna Wheelers and when this club was disbanded they were invited by Denis Lillicrap and George Basset to join the Ratae Road Club. As well as regular racing, Roger’s love of cycling took him to Northern France, Provence and Mallorca. His warmth and cheerfulness made him a highly regarded friend of riders from many of the local clubs. He also enjoyed the company of Ratae members on the regular club runs. These helped to develop Roger’s uncanny awareness of the geography of Leicestershire which made him such an outstanding club runs captain in his later years. The onset of macular degeneration did not diminish Roger’s spirit. In July 2011 he was keen to take part in the short trip that six Ratae members made, to La Ville Davy near St. Helen in Brittany, to watch Le Tour. This included a 70 mile round trip to Cap Frehal, to witness Mark Cavendish secure his first stage victory at the end of the fifth stage of that year’s race.

Roger had many interests outside of cycling and Keith outlined his love of classical and big band music. Colleen expanded on his wider interests in her eulogy. She described the out of season Sunday walks, led by Ratae founder member Norman Yeadon, which often went to various destinations in Derbyshire. Driving through Fenny Bentley they were invited to salute Bentley Hall, which Norman described as the county seat of the Bentley family! In more recent times these monthly hikes became local country walks, which have subsequently evolved into the Club’s end of the month Friday social lunches.

Bill and Colleen enjoyed many holidays with Janice and Roger, including trips to such exotic places as Cyprus, Menorca and the Pyrenees, in their earlier years. Despite his deteriorating eyesight and the onset of dementia Roger was still up for fun-filled trips, which were usually arranged for places familiar to Roger, and like club runs, would usually include a tea stop!

All those who were fortunate enough to have known Roger will remember his love and life in general and cycling in particular. Unfortunately, his failing health dimmed his vivacity, which had been a common theme throughout his life. His loss leaves a void in the hearts of his family but he will also be sorely missed by those outside the family circle, especially by the cycling fraternity in general and members of the Ratae RC in particular.

 

Many thanks to Kevin Commons for this fitting tribute to a great Club man.

 
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