Obituary - Tony Yorke: 1938-2012

Obituary - Tony Yorke: 1938-2012

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It is with deep regret we have to advise that Tony Yorke, the former British Cycling youth and paralympic coach and Hall of Fame member, died on Wednesday of this week.

Tony was a very active cyclist since he finally retired but had health problems over the last five months. He passed away peacefully at home with family at his bedside. Tony was 74 years of age.

British Cycling President Brian Cookson OBE said: “I was saddened to hear that Tony Yorke had passed away. Tony worked so hard for our sport over many years, and many of us will particularly remember his time as our national junior coach.

“In an era when funds were limited he nevertheless threw himself wholeheartedly into the job, giving many youngsters their first taste of proper structured training, leading on to full international competition on road and track.

“He certainly helped many to achieve their potential and some of them are still active in the sport today. On behalf of British Cycling, I send our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

A qualified senior coach, Tony took on the voluntary post of national youth squad coach and team manager in late 1979 and his expertise and enthusiasm were to benefit many riders over the years. He had a short break whilst his work took him to Barbados in 1985 and 1986.

He was soon back in harness on his return to the UK as Director of Coaching Development when he became a big advocate of the scientific aspects of the sport and in particular the use of the ‘Kingcycle’ which was a forerunner in the development of machines used for physiological testing and training and now so much a part of the everyday coaching plans of today’s cyclists.

He became a major supporter of Cycling for the Disabled and from 1990 was instrumental in conducting the negotiations which resulted in Paralympic cycling becoming an integral part of British Cycling and the introduction of the National Championships which are now held alongside the able bodied Championships at the National Cycling Centre.

In due course Tony’s efforts and enthusiasm were rewarded when the UCI agreed his proposals and finally accepted Paralympic Cycling. The UCI Paralympic Cycling Commission was formed (with Tony as a full member) and duly introduced world championships for cyclists with disabilities. All this work being greatly appreciated by the riders he was so keen to work with.

When British Cycling relocated to the National Cycling Centre in 1994 Tony continued as director of coaching development developing both youth and coaching commissions. However he was steadily drawing very close to the Paralympic aspects of the sport and was appointed as national coach for these disciplines. His work was appreciated to the extent that he eventually ‘retired’ in 2000 to concentrate on his UCI work.

He became chairman of Paralympic Cycling at international level and in that capacity he introduced and developed the factor rate system for cycling thus permitting the comparison of performances within the various categories of disability. This system has been used in world championships and Tony even carried out some further ‘fine tuning’ just prior to the 2012 Paralympic Games.

In 2009 Tony was awarded the OBE for his services to Paralympic Sport and in 2010 he became a member of British Cycling’s ‘Hall of Fame’.

At this difficult time the thoughts and sympathies of everyone at British Cycling are extended to Gretel and the family of Jane, Julie and David.

Funeral of Anthony David Yorke OBE

Gretel, family and friends will be saying their final farewells to Tony on Tuesday 11th December at 1.40 pm at Worthing Crematorium,, Horsham Road (A27), Findon, West Sussex, BN14 0RG - Tel: 01903 872 678.

Then afterwards at the nearby Findon Manor Hotel,

High Street, Findon, Worthing, West Sussex, BN14 0TA - Tel: 01903 872 735

We would prefer no floral tributes.

All donations in memory of Tony will be gratefully received on behalf of St Barnabas Hospice Care. Cheques should be made payable to St Barnabas House and sent to The Co-operative Funeralcare, 34 South Street, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 8AG -

Tel: 01903 763 337