Celebrating the life of Christine Mary Watts
It is sad to relate that Chris has recently died, and that her funeral took place on Wednesday 22nd June 2016. I include a tribute written by John Taylor for the RRA Website.
Christine Watts, A Sporting Tribute.
Christine passed away on Tuesday 31st May, after enduring poor health for a number of years. She had been a staunch member of the Addiscombe CC, from her teenage years, breaking her first WRRA road record at the age of 20 in 1951 when she teamed up on a tandem with Daphne Stratford. They broke the 50mile record in 1hr-58mins-33s, pushing a 96”single fixed gear. In 1953 Chris led the Addiscombe ladies to a 100m competition record team win, and during the next three years they also won the 50 and 100mile team championships. In 1954 Chris added 0.3m onto Eileen Sheridan’s 12hr time-trial competition record with 237.91m, and that same year she married John Watts. He was a member of the Addiscombe CC team with Gus Andrews and Stan Harvey, and between them they pushed the 24hr team competition record to 1351.92m in 1951.
In 1955 Chris teamed up again with Daphne Grist (nee Stratford), to improve their own 50mile tandem record with 1hr-55mins-34s, they also broke Marguerite Wilson and Flossie Wren’s 100 mile record in a time of 3hrs-57mins-11secs that same year. They also clipped 30 minutes off the London-Brighton and back record with a time of 4hrs-36mins-06secs; just 10mins slower than Ken Joy’s then current professional record! Christine’s time-trialing and record successes in the 1950’s took place around the same time as Eileen Sheridan’s WRRA record-breaking spree, and they kept in touch with each other since that time.
Chris supported the WRRA/RRA well over the years and was made a Vice President in 2001. She commissioned an engraved Crystal glass vase as a trophy for the Women’s Land’s End to John o’Groats record, the glass engraving was done by Eileen Sheridan, and I’m proud to say that Lynne Biddulph nee Taylor became the current holder in 2001 & 2002 after Pauline Strong’s record in 1990. Chris also gave me a lot of information on the WRRA when I compiled the latest RRA history in 2013.
Much advice and support with her racing came from another famous Addiscombe CC rider Charlie Davey, and in later years she helped compile a book on his career, and the club’s history. Chris and John played a huge organising role in the RTTC London South District, for which Chris was awarded the ‘Badge of Honour’ in 1998.
Thank you Chris for your support of organised cycle racing, especially the WRRA.