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Obituary - John Dennis

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It is with sadness that Norwood Paragon CC announces that former President and Life Member of the Norwood Paragon CC John Dennis passed away peacefully at home on the 24 January at the age of 86 years. John had been in ill health for some time.

John joined the Paragon in 1946 and proved to be an outstanding track rider. The pinnacle of his cycling career was being selected to ride the Tandem Sprint in the 1948 London Olympics. Unfortunately, injuries sustained in a crash two weeks before the Games put him and partner Ivor Cox out of contention, their places being taken by no other than Reg Harris and Alan Bannister. In 1950, John set a new national record of 23.0 seconds for the 1/4 Mile Human Paced Flying Start, the record was never beaten before all track records became metric.

John’s racing career ended in 1951 after breaking his collarbone for a second time and turned his attention to fulltime promotion of track racing at Herne Hill. These promotions were world class events which packed Herne Hill every Saturday during the summer for a number of years.

John also found time to manage a number of British teams in overseas classic events before turning his hand to journalism working on “The Bicycle” and “Cycle Sport” for nine years.

A spell of working in Japan whetted his appetite for Keirin racing and in 2004 promoted the National Keirin Championship on behalf of the Paragon as part of the club’s Centenary celebrations. John with support of his wife Shelagh rejuvenated the Reading Track League, which went on to be one of the country’s leading leagues.

John is having a private woodland burial on Monday 11th February. A celebration of John’s life will be held on the 12th February.

Forever the character he never accepted the norm, he will be missed by all who knew him.

Our thoughts go out to Shelagh and his family.

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