CLUB NEWS: Hollebon awarded life time achievement award

George Hollebon, a lifetime member of Hellingly Lions Cycle Speedway Club, was on Saturday awarded a lifetime achievement award for his services to Cycle Speedway, by Secretary of the Veterans Cycle Speedway Association at Hellingly’s staging of the Eurovets grand prix series.

George, known to most in the sport as simply “Mr Hellingly”, was lost for words as he was called up alongside his wife, Gill, who also received a bouquet of flowers for her services to the club, to be presented with the award in front of their three proud and equally hard working children.

A member of the club for 69 years, George first rode for the club at the age of 12 in 1947. By the mid-fifties, he had become the man at the helm of the club and over the years holding every position available.

Running any sports club for any amount of time can be stressful at times, but 69 years in, George is still to be found at the club on every club night and matchday with a rake in his hand helping out on the track.

It is only through his dedication that the club, which is the oldest surviving club in the world, is still operation today.

Club member Brian Davidson, who has returned to the saddle this year at the age of 65, has known George for over 40 years, he said: “Younger members probably don’t comprehend or understand what all the fuss is about, but to have a few ex-riders and others turn up to pay tribute to George for what he has done for the sport speaks volumes for the respect they have for the man.

“Take this afternoon (Saturday), who else at 81 would pick up a broom and promptly get on with grading the track, no one wanted him out there but no one was going to stop him either, that is love for the sport and passion for his club.

“When he was asked to say a few words on the microphone, he replied saying he was speechless, before paying tribute to his wife Gill, that was touching. I have the greatest respect for them both and always will have”.

Current riders were all there to award George and Gill three big cheers (a tradition from team to team after a match) and it was probably the loudest cheers that the club have ever heard.

Current Chairman Barry Carpenter added: “I have no other words to say than before us today stands two legends of the club, the awards they have received are more than deserved and I am so proud that the association have done this.

“The club owes the whole Hollebon family a massive debt, the hours that George has and still spends over here is amazing for someone of his age, I may be chairman of the club but George is and always will be number 1.”

Congratulations George!