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Michael Rabbetts 80's Time Trial (Ringmer-Laughton Road)

Michael Rabbetts April 2004

It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of Michael Rabbetts at the age of 74.

Michael was born in Swindon on 15th May 1930. Unusually in those days, he didn't learn to ride a bike until he was 16. In 1947 he joined the Swindon & District RC. During this year on one notable 400 mile circular tour over 13 days; he took in Arundel, Patcham and Canterbury, it would have brought him this way and to Jarvis Brook, where one day he would return to live with his family.

Through the snow, ice, strong winds and winter of 1948, Michael was wearing shorts on 15th February he noted for the first time since Christmas! That year's major tour was in Devon, Dorset and Cornwall, over 17 days, 880 miles and at a cost of just under 10.00.

1951-53 saw Michael competing in time trials, favouring the longer distances and 12 hours, with personal best of 4h 50m 11s for the 100 and 225.75 miles for 12 Hours. In 1953 he set Place-2-Place records for Swindon-Bath-Bristol-Gloucester-Cheltenham-Swindon in 6h 14m 38s. This record still stands, due to road changes. Interestingly, the Certificate was signed by only the secretary, one Michael Rabbetts; all the others were signed by both the Secretary & the President!

In December 1950 Mick went to a meeting in a hotel in Bath where he met the Chairman's daughter, Megan. On this occasion however, she paid little attention to him and it wasn't until the following February, they sat next to each other at the Gloucester City CC Dinner. By Easter, Mick had his feet under the Chairman's table. On 22nd January, 1955 Swindon RC and Gloucester City were joined in marriage, and after living in Nottingham, Bristol and Tunbridge Wells, the happy couple arrived in Jarvis Brook to live in 1963.

Mick is perhaps best remembered for his sense of humour, which appeared early in his club life; brought out in a Cake Eating Contest, Rules for Annual Dinners and the Stile Climbers Club.

On becoming involved with the Lewes Wanderers in about 1984, Mick soon turned his hand to supplying the entertainment at Club Dinners, elaborately and imaginatively creating pastiches on This is Your Life & Blind Date.

Along with editing and producing 'The Lewes Wanderer' our club Newsletter for many a year, Michael wrote books; one on De Laune CC and a slim home printed History of the East Sussex CA to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Association.

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On a personal note, I joined the Lewes Wanderers in 1995 as a complete novice to competitive cycling, and it was Michael's thoughtfully, well written and humorous reports that helped give me the motivation and encouragement I needed to develop in the sport. Over many years, this was the same for many cyclists, both young and not so young.

Michael was also particularly supportive of my dalliance with long distance time trialing. I still keep a framed recipe for Banana Cake, presented by him at the Club Dinner for the 1996 season, after him learning of my consumption of bananas on the Sussex CA 12-Hour.

Chris Martin

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