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Ralph Varden 1906 - 1971
Ralph Varden was born on the 7th December 1906 in Nuneaton.
Ron and Sylvia Morris (nee Varden) live in Evesham.
The following is a letter written by Sylvia about her father.
Ralph Varden 1906 - 1971
Dad had a great deal of energy and fun.
He was an engineer and his great love and interest was Motor Cycles going back to the early days of the British Industry in the 1920s. He always wore the plus fours fashionable of the day. He rode an AJS and Bullet Sidecar with his Brother in Law Ian Laurie Boff - life long friends (He was the timekeeper in the club scramble days at Hidcote Bartrim). My Mother lived in the next road in Nuneaton where they lived until 1934 when his work as a Post Office Engineer brought him to Stratford-upon-Avon. He worked during the second world war in communications, but soon his love of British Motorbikes took over his life, and the Stratford Club was restarted. He rented an old farm house & buildings by Malew Church near Castletown in the Isle of Man for the TT races and being on the circuit at Church Bends for the Southern 100 was a very popular place to be - no change! All our family and friends enjoyed this venue. The large sitting room with a blazing fire (if he ran out of wood he would sling on a chair, bought for a song in those days at the local auction sales, much to the hilarity of all) filled with bikes all getting ready for the race, spares and tanks all over the place - all chipped in with joints of Beef and bacon sandwiches, a butcher in a top hat was one, and Roman Zeil was a chef, his sidecar trials passenger, and Josie Ryder was also - she spent her honeymoon there too with the “Mice” and Ray also a chef - they were club treasurer and soup kitchen providers.
Ron Langston won the Southern 100 at this time and he tells of sleeping late after a “good” night, and had to join the pack outside the farm for practice without a wash or breakfast racing by the farm, when the roads were closed early in the morning, Sam Cooper and Ron Morris all helping and enjoying the excitement.
Ralph took an Ariel & sidecar and a Brough SS80 Superior & sidecar over there as transport and at one stage 8 club lads were sitting on it somehow to go up to the Mountain Circuit - stopped by the Manx police - but let off - most unsafe by the “ELF & Safety” standards of today.
Dad was a great leader of men and well enjoyed by all club members and customers alike, in Evesham too where Ron and I ran a branch of his Matthews & Co - “Run by Motor Cyclists for Motor Cyclists”. Some of his bikes ended up in the Manx Motor Cycle Museum on the mountain, owned by Charlie Murray, an old school friend of his.
A Memorial Seat is now outside Malew Church opposite the farm now enjoyed particularly by the Marshalls on race day for the Southern 100.
TRAA - DY - L1100AR
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