Sad News: Don Povall Passes Away

Larry Hickmott writes… The sport in Britain is greeted this morning with the news that Don Povall has passed away. Many of you will know of Don. If he wasn’t in a neutral service car with Tony Barry looking after riders in major races, he was a commissarie at meetings such as Revolution.

Latest: Don Povall’s memorial service took place on Wednesday 4th January 2012 at  the South Chapel, Landican Cemetery, Arrowe Park, Woodchurch and his daughter, Gail sent this message: “On behalf of the whole family I would like to say a huge thank you to all that came to celebrate his life with us on Wednesday”.

Larry Hickmott writes … My abiding memory of Don is of the sprint competition and one by one, asking each of the sprinters whether they were ready for battle or the picture I got of his gun sparking at a Revolution meeting.

Revolution meeting and Don shares a joke with sprint legend Jens Fiedler and Paralympic gold medallist Barney Storey.

Don, who lived on the Wirral, was one of the few who was dedicated to the sport and was a life member of the New Brighton Cycling Club. He was a member of British Cycling for around 30 years (give or take a year) (a life member) and in his CV says “My racing was only at club level and did not produce any outstanding results but gave me great satisfaction and enjoyment”.

Don worked on on major International races as a mechanic such as the Peace Race, Tour de Langkawi, Tour of Sweden, Tour of Saxony, Tour de Lain, Circuit des Mines, Tour of Guadeloupe, Olympia Tour, Tour Finistaire, Ladies Milan-San-Remo, Japan Cup Tour of Greece, Tour of Swiss, Thurigen-Rundfhart, European U23 Championships, Commonwealth Games & also the World Road Championships.

Don was the man with the starter’s gun at many a track meeting …

Don also acted as a Commissaire at major National and International events: Revolution Series, UCI World Cup and World Masters Championships and the World Track Championships.

Martin Bridgwood, Track Manager at the 2012 Olympics says of Don “A genuine guy, a real gent. Don was so chuffed and proud after receiving his appointment for next summer. He wanted to retire at the top! I never once heard him complain about anyone or anything and he’d always a smile on his face. Cheers Don we will be thinking of you mate”.

BC Board member Colin Docker says of Don, “he was a man who would bring a smile and wisdom into many lives. The image of Don, diving out of the neutral service car, and giving a rider the biggest shove in the business to get them going again. Don standing in the centre at Manchester during a bunch race, on the dias and with an arm pointed continuously at the head of the race. A man who was a great supporter of the sport, who would do anything to help anyone, and one half of that service team with Tony Barry, who we all knew as the “Chuckle Brothers”, with very good reason! Don helped develop the latest disciplinary regulations, a tribute to his knowledge and expertise, as well as his generosity with his time. Don, today is a sad one, you lightened so many lives, caused so many smiles, bless you, RIP.”

Carole Leigh (organiser and official at major events) – “On hearing the news of Dons passing, I was both shocked and saddened – life truly is so cruel and selfish taking the good ones early. I have had the pleasure of Dons company for many years serving together on the NW Board of British Cycling and as an official on both Track and Road events throughout the Country. Happy memories of his partner in crime, the other “Chuckle Brother” Tony Barry and him sharing meat pies and anything else that Tony would produce from their picnic as we made the crossing to the Isle of Man with the sea bashing against the windows.

He was such a dedicated official with a knowledge of the rules that was second to none. A fantastic treasurer to us on the NW Board of British Cycling with such commitment to the role. His passing leaving a void that will be so difficult to replace. God bless you Don RIP”

Tony Barry, who shared the neutral service car with Don says “Don was a good friend and we’ve been a double act for so long now. He will be missed by the cycling fraternity that’s for sure and especially our Curry night crew.”

Denise Barry “Have know Don and Pat for so long, my fondest memory is when we went to a wedding in Scotland when Don and Tony got kitted out in the highland dress.. kilts and all. wow they loved it. Don loved that kilt and went to great expense to buy his very own. Looked good in it too. Love ya Don i bet you are walking in BC heaven with it right now. Dx”

A photo from Beryl … the ‘chuckle brothers’, Don and Tony prior to a ride on the bikes as against in a neatral service car

Beryl Bowes: Hard to think of what to say of my recollections of Don they are many and varied.  The first time I actually remember seeing him was on the train when we were both going to work in Liverpool in the 80’s.  Since then we have travelled to many races together and I shall sorely miss him in my car.  Cycling was his life, apart from his family, and his knowledge of rules goes without saying. Now we shall just have to brush up instead of relying on him.  Miss you Don.  RIP.  Bxx

Frank Daniels: A very sad time for all in cycling.I have known and worked on events with Don for a number of years. One half of the “Chuckle Brothers” service crew, track commissire, road commissaire, regional treasurer, nothing was too much trouble for Don. Thanks for your friendship  R.I.P

Simon Jones: Don, what a genuine, heart of gold, funny bloke. RIP

Carl Lawrenson: “I have know Don since I first became involved in cycling and had the great pleasure to work with him on many events and serve alongside him on the board of the Merseyside Division and later the North West Region of British Cycling.

Don’s knowledge of the rules and studious service as our regional treasurer were legendary. Although he came relatively late to track officiating, he soon became a key member of the team working at Manchester Velodrome and on tracks throughout the UK. There were few items of bike measuring kit that he did not posess and nothing he loved more, after long days at the track, than ordering his customary steak ‘blue – don’t cook it just show it the grill!’.

On the road too – as one half of the country’s foremost neutral service team, there are many riders who can thank a swift wheel change from ‘Pov for their victories. His sudden and untimely passing will touch us all, and his loss to the sport that he was so passionate and dedicated to will leave a void that is impossible to fill. Sleep well my friend.

Alasdair Maclennan from Scottish Cycling says of Don, “A true gentleman. You will be sadly missed by all your friends north of the border and indeed all throughout our cycling family. May you rest in peace Don”.

Matt Payne , commentator, rigger of barriers and a familiar face at events, had this to say about Don, “Having had the pleasure to have worked with Don on the road & at the track as well as having served on the BC National Appeals Panel with him, I am saddened to hear the news of his passing away. Don’s knowing smile hid a shrewd & intelligent man whose expertise and knowledge of the workings of all aspects of the sport were invaluable on many occasions. Yes I will miss Don for his ability to get the job done without drama, backed up with confidence in his years of experience but I will miss more, his warm smile that would brighten up the earliest of starts at stage races & lighten the darkest moments of pre-event preparation. RIP Don, a true gent in the sport.”

Commentator Anthony McCrossan from Cyclevox says of Don, “sad to hear of the passing of Don today. Worked alongside him at so many events. He made me jump every single time he fired that gun at the track, never could get used to it!  Will remember him working away in the track centre just getting on with it and as the double act at the Premiers and other races with Tony Barry. Sad loss so close to Christmas. RIP

British Cycling’s President Brian Cookson told British Cycling after hearing the news: “This is such sad news. Don gave so much to our sport and made so many good friends. He will be sorely missed by all of us.”

Trevor Hughes: “I am devastated to hear the sad news about Don. He was a friend to all cyclists and will be sadly missed by everybody. R I P”

Patrick Nestor “I can’t remember the 1st time I met Don, but it was probably Revolution 1. Over the years Don helped me lots, especially on bike checking and even after his recent illness, never failed to give an answer that made sense. I’m sure next time I’m frantically thumbing through a rule book he’ll be having a good laugh. I’m sure I’m not the only person Don has helped over the years and I for one and going miss him greatly not only as a helping hand but as a very valued and loved friend.”

Geoff Weir – Sad and shocked to hear the news, all our thoughts go out to Pat and all his family. I have lots of fond memories of pov, but one sticks out more than most; during the 1996 Merseyside Div Champs I was 8 minutes clear with Matt Stephens when I punctured, pov jumped out, came to my aid changed the wheel and pushed me into the hedge ! Legend ! Still makes me chuckle to this day ! Absolutely gutted to hear the news ….

Ken Ross: As one of the curry crew,I have fond memories of Don. He always ended up with the short straw, in charge of the order receiving humorous stick from the rest of the bunch. I was lucky to work with Don and Tony on many stage races, and was always impressed by the dedication and hard work shown by Don as the mechanic. Don will be remembered for years to come by all who knew him. Riders, Officials and friends.
I feel privileged to have worked with him and been a close friend.R I P

I am sure there will be many riders and officials who will have many fond memories of Don and we’d love to hear them as a mark of respect for such a great volunteer. Send your dedications for Don here

Don has a word with Barney Storey at the start of a sprint match at Manchester.

Don chec ks with former World Sprint champion Rene Wolfe that he’s ready to race.