Three beloved Newport cyclists honoured with memorial planter

Three sorely-missed cyclists have been honoured with a beautiful memorial planter in the centre of the town they loved to cycle through.

With the new memorial planter are, from left, town mayor Peter Scott, Mandy Beeston (widow of Scott), Ann Hurst (widow of Dave), Pat Grubert (widow of Paul); planter-maker John Elsdon; and Nova Raiders vice chair Gary Wade
With the new memorial planter are, from left, town mayor Peter Scott, Mandy Beeston (widow of Scott), Ann Hurst (widow of Dave), Pat Grubert (widow of Paul); planter-maker John Elsdon; and Nova Raiders vice chair Gary Wade

The Nova Raiders, who in their 10 years have raised more than £100,000 for various good causes, decided to team up with Newport in Bloom to dedicate a flower installation to three former members who have died.

They are Paul Grubert, who died in 2015 aged 71; Dave Hirst, who was 65 when he died last year; and Scott Beeston, who died of cancer earlier this year aged just 50.

The three widows all met up with representatives of the club and John Elsdon, who built the planter. It was installed earlier this summer in the town centre, opposite Haberdashers' Adams School.

Paul was a founder member of the Raiders, Pat said. She said: "The three of us were thrilled to bits that they had done it. It's something that we can go down and have a look at, and in the seasons they will have different flowers."

She was full of praise for the Severn Hospice in Telford, which cared for Paul in his final days.

"I just can't praise them enough. No-one need ever be frightened of going in there."

Paul was a sales manager for the Newport and Market Drayton Advertisers.

'They were really kind to him'

Dave Hirst's widow, Ann, said that her husband had been a keen cyclist in his youth and could have gone professional, but that he gave it up to the horror of his father, a cycling fanatic.

He only took it up again eight years ago, when he joined the Nova Raiders, and fell back in love with the sport. He would cycle 70 to 80 miles every Sunday.

"He just loved the club, it was fantastic," said Ann.

"He made some good friends, they were really kind to him. He gave it up two years ago, he kept in touch with them."

Dave was an engineer, though when he was made redundant he decided to become a postman. He lived with asbestosis and his condition worsened when he got older.

Especially popular on his delivery route in Lilleshall, he was often late getting back to the office because of his friendly chats with residents.

'They need some recognition'

Scott, a development manager for JCB who died earlier this year following a battle with prostate cancer, was a popular member of the club.

His widow Mandy said: "It's a super idea. We're just so grateful for everything that Nova Raiders have done for us.

"My husband loved the club, it was his passion. They are a very close-knit club, they take each other under their wings. Scott had never ridden a bike before.

"They need some recognition for what they do."

The club's vice chair Gary Wade said the group wanted to put some of the money it has raised with events towards helping out Newport in Bloom, whose own fundraising has been hit hard this year.

Nova Raiders are continuing to meet up safely in groups of six or less, and are always looking for new members at all ability levels.

Learn more at novaraiders.org.uk/.

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