Death of Nelson's veteran cyclist - Mr Amos Sugden
Most familiar figures in Nelson, and a man of whom the town was distinctly proud, Mr. "Amos Sugden, died at his residence, 25 Newport Street, on Friday, at the age of 80. He was the idol of a cycling fraternity representing a wide ared, and by compléting the 67th year of his career awheel, he achieved a notable record. A gentleman of squirely bearing, Mr. Sugden carried his weight of years with a grace that could but be classified as youthful, and up to the middle of last year, when he met with an accident at Ambleside, he enjoyed robust health. The accident, however, had very unfortunate consequences, for although he recently spent a.few weeks in Dorset, he never fully regained his strength, and his end came gradually but surely.
The high esteem in which he was held by his fellow cyelists was manifest on Tuesday afternoon when his remains were laid to rest at Nelson Cemetery.
The cortege was met by members of the C.T.C. and N.C.U., among the latter being Mr. Tom Hughes, a Wigan collier, who had cycled to Nelson direct from his work in the pit, and who had to hurry back for the night shift. The Bishop of Burnley (Dr. Henn) himself a keen cyclist and president of the local branch of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, also attended the ceremony, which was performed by the Rev. G: W. Bromiley.
The chief mourners were :— Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Sugden, Mr. J. Sugdeh, Mr. A. Sugden, Mr. and Mrs. Yates: first coach; Mr. John Sugden, Miss Annie and Ethel Sugden, Mr. Hartley and Mrs. Heywood, Mr. E. Whitehead: second coach; the Misses Broughton, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Sugden, Mr. Darius Windle and Mr. Birtwell: third coach; Mr. Mike and Mr. Albert Shackleton, Mr. Greenwood and Mr. Laurie Palmer, Mr. John Jackson, Mr. Tom MecDougall, the Rev. Mr. Bromiley: fourth coach.
Floral tributes were received from: The Family, Sister and Brother-in-Law and Nephew and Nieces, Daughter Helena and Grandson and Granddaughter, C.T.C. (Nelson = Section), Nelson Wheelers C.C., Neighbours and Friends, Mr. T. Whitehead, Mr. and Mrs. J. Greenwood and Bob, Emmie, Mrs. Pope and Family; Neighbouring Children.
The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Y. Helliwell and Sons, Ltd.
A Pioneer of the Cycling Movement
Mr. Sugden was one of the foundation members of the Nelson Section of the C.T.C. which he served as chairman from the time of its inception in 1920 until 1928, when he was made honorary vice-president.
It goes without, saying that a career of sixty-seven years awheel would be rich in incident. Mr. Sugden’s Tretentive memory, supplemented by keen powers of observation, had stored up an abundant harvest of choice material.
He was no mere "mile-eater," and had no use for companions whose chief object was passing so many mile-stones in a given time. He saw and heard all the way along, and was not averse to dismounting for the purpose of watching the ways of the merest insect.
Mr. Sugden was also something of a psychologist, and considered that of all things people were the most interesting, and incidentally the queerest. He had met all manner of people in the space of his travels, and his position to judge was beyond question. An anecdotal fund is another factor which made his company desirable to people of all ages, and his bump of humour continued to develop with his years.
Cycled to Wembley
Mr. Sugden had cycled to London more times than can be counted on both hands. He celebrated his 75th birthday by cycling to Wembley, and even at that age did not elect to take the course direct. He decided to spend a week-end in the Lake District, and his starting point for Wembley was Ambleside.
In his younger days he cycled from Barnoldswick to London on one of those antedelavian steeds known as the "penny-farthing.” The whole of his worldly wealth was 1n his pocket — six-pence! He had, however, a good supply of sad cakes, and as Mr. Sugden himself put it; water was in plenty.
Land's End to John-O-Groats
This wonderful veteran had cycled from Land’s End to John o’ Groat’s, this journey being made during a period of industrial depression in the early part of the present century, and: the following year he cycled from Nelson to Bristol without putting up for sleep on the way. Three years ago he cycled to the French and Belgian battlefields, visiting the grave of the son he lost in the war. Not only was Mr. Sugden a cyclist himself, but three of his succeeding generations are also devotees of the pedal, thus creating the unusual fact of three generations awheel.
An Appreciation of Amos Sugden
We have just laid to rest Amos Sugden; for once the wheels have gone round and he has had no will for the journey or its end.
Amos was a great traveller. For him to travel was better than to arrive. Every minute spent in the out-of-doors was enjoyed, and he took the weather offered at the moment, and made the best of it.
Whenever he wandered - and the British Isles held few places he had mnot visited - frequent stops had to be made so that the fresh beauties discovered in old and familiar scenes might be absorbed and incense offered to them from one of Amos’s strange and wonderful pipes.
These delays galled some of his more youthful companions. To him they were among the chief delights of his travel, for his progress was of the unhasting type which gets there in the end. Frequently, during the winter, he visited Manchester to hear the Brand Lane concerts, and enjoyed the varied fare offered. Grand opera, oratorios, any combination of musical instruments or organ music alike offered to him equal opportunity to be glad and rejoice.
In literature he had sure friends — Walter Scott, George Borrow, Carlyle, Charles Dickens, and Shakespeare were all known and read. A recent holiday in Dorest had sent him afresh to the works of Hardy, and he had been at pains to unveil the thin disguise of the place names by much use of his map.
Exhibitions afforded him uceasing pleasure. Everything from the smallest mechanical invention to the interior of a modern air-liner would be inspected, for he took a boy’s delight in seeing how it worked.
No appreciation, however short, would be complete 1f it failed to mention Lakeland, for it held prior claim in his affections to any place in the British Isles, He had conquered most of its hills and passes, but the dearest place it held was a lowly eminence with an unsurpassable view — Orrest Head at Windermere. There, morning and night, he would climb, and take in the picture: limned by the Divine Artist. There at evening we have sat with him, seeing Windermere lying before us a wrinkled sea of gold; then, as the sun sank slowly beyond Bow Fell, its last rays lighting the hills up into sudden glory, so that they seemed on fire; the light failed, and evening came on.
So, at evening Amos silently went from us: He was a great friend, kindly, gracious, understanding. His conversation would enhance any company and disgrace none. Troubles he had had, but they left him sweet. He drank deep from the wells of life, and its waters were not bitter.
For him, as for us...
"...We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."