South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Profile of Eileen Rosendale

Profile: Eileen Rosendale - (May/Jun 2003)

Many of the readers of this newsletter will remember Eileen Rosendale from the times when she was a member of the Cheam & Morden Section. Eileen and Den left us in 1991 to live in Inverness-shire, Scotland, with many good memories of the C&M and the Kingston Phoenix Road Club. Despite the distance they still keep these memories alive with visits to the family and attendances at reunions such as the Annual Dinner of the KPRC. The Sou'Wester, which they receive by post also helps to keep them in contact with cycling down South.

As a child in her home in Balham, Eileen could not escape from bicycles. Her father, H. Messenger, was a member of the Balham CC and won numerous cups and medals for his cycle racing. Eileen and her two sisters grew up in a house crammed full of bicycles. She describes the scene, "The kitchen was an indoor bike shed (Mum had the scullery) with Dad's work bike, road bikes, bikes hung on the airer between wash days, and the tandem parked along one wall". Her father was happy when his baby daughter grew up and could leave her cot and pram to be placed on a seat on his bike - then peace reigned!

The family enjoyed cycling to Wimbledon Common armed with bats, balls, capes and cold beef sandwiches. Even birthday parties were held on Wimbledon Common. Dad would take food, and other gear on the bike. Mum would take the girls on a bus.

When my Dad took Mum out, it was a very occasional event and it would be to a Club Dinner. Eileen recalls: "one year there was a disaster when, on returning, being a cyclist and always hungry, the wallpaper paste which was believed to have been left out of reach was raided. I was covered in spots!"

The family had some good tours in the Chilterns, Cotswolds and Sussex and two in North Wales. They could test the young members of the family, particularly on their first tour to the Chilterns. Eileen recalls, "I was only nine years old and rode 90 miles. We were to stay for a fortnight at 'Happy Days'. We arrived to find an overgrown garden and our luxury accommodation. It was a shed with a tin roof and inside there were two beds, one with a dip and underneath - mouse-traps. On the first night we were welcomed by a violent thunderstorm. Rain sounding like golf balls hit the tin roof as we lay, with Dad on one bed whilst Mum put up with three rolling on top of her all night - all scared by the thought of the mice under the bed." We were pleased to leave the following morning to escape to a site with two small caravans.

Eileen was introduced to Club cycling by her sister Valerie who had become a member of the Cheam & Morden Section of the SW London DA. Eileen was given little respect from her sister who introduced her saying, "this is the other one!" But life with the C&M became a happy time as she enjoyed the company of people such as Arthur Beanland, Arthur Butcher (Butch), George Younger, Brian Smith, Lily Smithers and Bill and Sue Taylor. Friendships in the C&M frequently became marriage partnerships in those days. Sister Valerie met Ray Drewett and Eileen met Den.

Eldest sister, Sheila, was working at the CTC offices at Craven Hill where she met Les Warner who was to become Secretary of the CTC. Years later the C&M and the KPRC would bring together Eileen's daughter Joanne and son-in-law to be, Michael Fricker. In addition to all these marital developments Eileen and friends in the C&M were busily cycling. Eileen recalls Hostel weekends, night runs, Easter tours. End to End tours and the tour of India with Mark Roy, plus a ride across the desert on the route used by Lawrence of Arabia which raised £75,000 for charity.

The cycling influence came from Father while her Mother's line provided the influence in Eileen's other special interest - music. Her mother's grandfather, who came from Frankfurt in Germany, had a music shop in Camden where they made and sold clarinets. The shop with her family's name of Stark is still remembered by some in North London. These interests in cycling and music came together when her parents first met - on One Enchanted Evening' - at a cycling club dinner. They were married and their third daughter, Eileen, was to obtain recognition both as a cyclist and as a musician. She is qualified to teach pianoforte so her life in Scotland is very busy teaching her pupils and enjoying cycling in the Scottish countryside.

She is often asked if she misses the South. Eileen answers, "Scotland is a wonderful place to live but, yes, I do miss the South - obviously miss the family, and I do miss the club runs and a good old laugh." We are pleased that the Sou'Wester can help Eileen to keep in contact with our rides down south and maybe provide a laugh on occasions.

Note. Some of us know that Eileen's sister Valerie sadly died the year before last whilst climbing in Scotland. Climbing developed from her map reading experience on the cycling holidays in North Wales. These early experiences also led to special achievement at school with a marking for A Level Geography of 99%. Valerie achieved recognition as a climber of the Munros before her death.