The passing of a respected VC Baracchi honorary member


Velo Club Baracchi members were sorry to hear of the death, recently reported, of the club’s honorary member, Bernard (Bernie) Heath, known to just a few of the older hands.

John Thomson has said, “Bernie was effectively my introduction to the Lowestoft Wheelers when one Sunday morning in June 1966 I turned up at Royal Plain for my first experience of a club run.”

Bernie Heath was originally a member of the Lowestoft Olympic Cycling Club formed in the fifties primarily as a road racing club.  When that club folded he moved over to the Wheelers (where he was chairman and held other offices from time to time) and subsequently to Velo Club Baracchi, which was formed in 1978.

His main interest was road racing, rarely riding time trials.  He was active in promoting and Thompson believes that included an annual road race that used The Ship public house in Stradbroke Road as the headquarters.

Besides an interest in club runs and cycling weekends, Heath often officiated in road racing and was for some years on the East Anglian committee of the British Cycling Federation, now known as now British Cycling.

Thompson said, “We started to see less of him when he went to Durham University to study to join the Roman Catholic priesthood. We then only saw him when he came home during the educational holiday periods.

He was also an associate member of the London St Christopher’s Roman Catholic Cycling Club, now just London St Christopher’s CC.  He was appointed to the Diocese of East Anglia and Thompson adds, “I understand he went initially to Aldeburgh.  On his departure it was decided to give him honorary membership.”

Last weekend’s activities in VC Baracchi saw at least three groups out on the road in club runs and training.

On the club run through Sotterley

Most of the club riders put in sixty or so miles and felt lucky that it stayed dry.  One group rode to Halesworth and then via Homersfield into the Pulhams, then back towards Harleston to Bungay and home through Ringsfield and Weston.

Thompson himself did his own thing and says he discovered two lanes he had not used before.  Some of the landmarks on his ride were Redisham and Rumburgh, St Cross, where he followed some pleasant Waveney Valley lanes to Mendham and Withersdale Street toward Syleham and then along a “first time”’ lane to Fressingfield.

He added, “Just after Fressingfield I had the bonus of another “’first time”’ lane through a pleasant spot, including 2 cattle grids, called  Chippenhall Green to Cratfield, then Linstead, Halesworth and through Blyford to tolerate the A12 from Blythburgh crossroads to Stephanie’s Kitchen at Wrentham.  Finally home via Henstead.”