23 November 2011

Saturday’s activities were subdued and very much overshadowed when club members and officials learned of the death of fellow club member Willie Nelson, from Suffolk Street, who had passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Willie, who was 61 on 30th August, had been a club member for over twenty years and had taken part in the club’s mid-week racing from his early days. He was also a regular at Bann Valley’s races until he took ill in 2010.

I had a look through some old club record books and Willie’s name first appeared in the 1991 Stan Finlay memorial, Boxing Day, 10 miles time trial result, when he recorded 30 minutes 06 seconds. Many club time trials and road races were to follow in the ensuing seasons with lots of creditable performances along the way.

Willie’s son Liam took part in the club’s juvenile races that 1991 season and Willie, you could say, followed in his son’s wheel tracks.

Willie was also a regular, and very willing helper, at the club’s two big open race promotions each season, where he was a very experienced and competent motor cycle marshall, astride his big Honda.

One of Willie’s favourite races was the Tommy Smyth cup event at Bellaghy and appropriately, this was the last BRC club race which he took part in, and finished on 24th May 2010. (This was also to be the final year of this particular race)

Willie will be badly missed around the club. He was very agreeable and popular club member and will be a big loss to the club.

Officials and members extend their sincere sympathy to Willie’s three sons and two daughters and the entire family circle at this very sad time.

Ballymena RC officials and members also offer their sympathy to club members Mary Mark and her brother Len Russell following the death of their sister Agnes Davidson last week.