Tribute to Bury St Edmunds-born cycling great is unveiled
PUBLISHED: 17:01 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:47 21 March 2019
A sculpture paying tribute to a Bury St Edmunds-born cyclist who won the world's first road race 150 years ago has been officially unveiled in the town.
Crowds gathered at the Mount Road/Orttewell roundabout today to see the tribute to James Moore – who won the 130km Paris-Rouen race on his velocipede in 1869 – revealed for the first time.
Moore, who was born in Long Brackland, Bury, in 1849 but moved to Paris when he was four-years-old, was one of the first stars of cycling and went on to dominate the sport for many years.
The town’s horticultural society – Bury in Bloom - commissioned the life-size eye-catching sculpture of Moore on his velocipede, which was designed, made and installed by artist Nigel Kaines from Stowlangtoft.
Members of the West Suffolk Wheelers cycling club and the female-only Bury Bicycle Collective attended the ceremony along with pupils from Sebert Wood Primary School and Moreton Hall Preparatory School.
Moore’s grandson, John Moore, unveiled the tribute following speeches by Melanie Lesser, former Bury in Bloom coordinator, and Justin Wallace, president of West Suffolk Wheelers.
Addressing the crowd, Mr Moore, 84, who lives in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, said: “I am sure my grandfather would have been especially proud to know he would be honoured, not only in his birthplace, but in the 150th anniversary year of his winning the first long distance race road race from Paris to Rouen.
“I would like to thank Bury in Bloom for their James Moore roundabout project and especially its coordinator Melanie Lesser, with whom I have liaised and has looked after me so well, and all the other contibutors who have made this tribute possible.
“Finally, but not least, the West Suffolk Wheelers, who demonstrate that enthusiasm for cycling is more alive than ever.”
Mrs Lesser, who stood down as coordinator before Christmas but stayed on to see the end of this project, said the sculpture had been a “fantastic team effort” across all areas of the town.
Mrs Lesser said the idea for a tribute had come from Peter Heath, former membership secretary and long-time member of West Suffolk Wheelers.
Mr Heath said: “Ken Hoxley, our former chairman, wrote a book of our history in 1997 to celebrate our 75th anniversary.
“There is a chapter in the book titled The Hero who Bury Forgot, which is all about James Moore, and in it he said that it was a great pity that Bury has never honoured him.
“Well here we are, 150 years since he won the first road race commemorating this great cyclist, who was the forerunner of all cyclists.”
Following the ceremony, Barry Denny, owner of Maglia Rosso cycling cafe in Hawstead, and Bill Ives led a cycle past on penny farthings to bring proceedings to a close.