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A Tribute to Roy Knight

A Tribute to Roy Knight - Ratae Club Member, who died on the 16th of August 2017

Written by Kevin Commons, in conjunction with Ben Scott, Roy's son-in-law


Roy, the youngest of three sons of a metal polisher and a cleaner, was born in Walsall in November 1946.  Despite the death of his father when he was only 11, he developed a number of interests during his teenage years, including his lifelong passion for drumming and cycling.  He and his mates regularly explored the Midlands on their bikes and even occasionally embarked on longer rides, such as the 113 mile trip from Walsall to Barmouth.  His lifelong concern for others also manifested itself at this time when a friend was injured in a fall from his bike and it was Roy who pushed him home !


It was however his passion for music that deflected him from applying for university.  At the tender age of 17, despite the reservations of his mother, he began a career as a professional drummer with the Boss Men.  This was unfortunately cut short as the Group was dogged by bad luck and after four years of hardship and struggle, a penniless Roy returned home.  He secured a trainee post at Walsall Public Library but continued with evening performances all over the Country; still managing to get to work in the library the following morning !


In 1968 Roy enrolled at the Liverpool School of Librarianship where he met his future wife.  On completing the course, Roy got a job at Fleetwood Public Library, but rented a bed-sit in Lytham Saint Annes so that he could be near to Jackie.  Consequently he had a daily commute of 19 miles along the seafront to Fleetwood by bike, which he did in all weathers !  In 1971, the couple married and, ever the romantic, Roy bought Jackie a bicycle as a wedding present !


The family moved to Oadby in 1975 when Roy took a job wih Leicestershire County Council.  This started his long association with local libraries, which included Head of Information Systems for Leicestershire Libraries, and Head of Libraries and Museums in Rutland.


In 1976 Rebecca arrived to join Alex, who had been born in Blackburn in 1974.  They had to wait until 1988, when the birth of William made their family complete.  Bicycles continued to play a big role for Roy, with family rides on camping and caravanning holidays, as well as exploring the many cycle trails in Derbyshire.


Roy's initial appoinment in Rutland eventually led to his taking overall responsibility for Leisure Services, which happily coincided wih the establishment of the Rutland - Melton Classic bike race.  Towards the end of his career Roy explored totally different avenues of work, for example, by teaching literacy and library skills at HMP Gartree.  His dedication to helping people also found an outlet at Voluntary Action Leicester, where he supported adults with learning difficulties in their search for work.  This continued into retirement when he organised gentle weekly bike rides along the canal towpath in Leicester.


It was during this period that the three remaining members of the Boss Menn were reunited and played at gigs all around the West Midlands.  More locally, Roy became the drummer for St. Peter's Music Group and for a short spell at the Baptist Church, which he greatly enjoyed.  Other musical interests included the Oadby Community Choir, which he and Jackie enjoyed together.


Retirement allowed Roy to indulge his passion for cycling more seriously, first with the Leicester Forest C.C. and more recently by joining the Ratae Road Club.  The highlight of his week was Ratae's Wednesday Club run, which was usually about 50 miles.  He particularly enjoyed the challenge of keeping up with the fast group on some pretty gruelling rides.  Such was his level of fitness at the start of 2017, that he entered the Club's Early Season 10 mile Time Trials, improving his time by over a minute between the 4th and 10th of March.


Roy had also lately put himself forward to stand on the Committee of the Club as it's Treasurer, and this was welcomed by the Members.


It was only a few weeks after this that the Ratae members were shocked to learn of his sudden illness which led to his untimely demise.  Roy was selfless and immensely brave during this time, never complaining about his fate.  His final days were spent in LOROS with his family around him and he died there on the 16th of August 2017.


Several members of the Club were priviledged to join the large congregation in paying their respects to him at the Celebration of his Life, held at St. Peter's Church, Oadby, at the end of August.






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