Speedway stalwart discovers photos 'lost' in wallet for 70 years

David Cushine with a copy of the EDP story about a Hethersett Hawks project called The Nest

David Cushine with a copy of the EDP story about a Hethersett Hawks project called The Nest, which aims to bring national and international competition to the village and provide world-class track facilities for enthusiasts. The story brought back happy memories for Mr Cushine, who himself raced speedway in his youth. - Credit: Peter Cushine

A stalwart of the early days of cycle speedway has rediscovered two photos from the era - after carrying them around in his wallet for more than 70 years. 

David Cushine, 89, who lives in North Walsham but was a Mile Cross resident for much of his life, found the faded images after seeing a story in the Eastern Daily Press about a £50,000 bid to boost a Hethersett speedway club

Mr Cushine, a retired railway engineer, said cycle speedway had been huge in Norwich in the years after the Second World War, and there was a league with eight or 10 clubs based in the city and nearby villages.

One of the photos which David Cushine

David Cushine, right, and a team mate, representing Norfolk at cycle speedway at a match at either West Ham or Wimbeldon. Mr Cushine said he had allowed the other rider to get ahead so the team could secure the maximum number of points. The photo was taken in about 1948 and Mr Cushine carried it around in his wallet for more than 70 years. - Credit: Supplied by David Cushine/Graham Jones

He said he was delighted to have re-discovered the photos, which show him racing and with teammates from Mile Cross.

He said: "I forgot they were in there. We built the tracks after the war - there was one opposite the pub on Harvey Lane and one on the Earlham Road.

"We had a lot of space then because the bombs had knocked the houses out so we could build the tracks on those sites."

One of the photos which David Cushine carried in his wallet for more than 70 years.

One of the photos which David Cushine carried in his wallet for more than 70 years. It shows himself on the right and fellow Mile Cross racers Billy Fisher, Fred Worley, David Cushine and Bert Lofty (front). - Credit: Supplied by David Cushine/Graham Jones


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Mr Cushine said it was the "energy and enthusiasm" of cycle speedway that drew him to the sport. "We loved to win," he said. 

Mr Cushine said his team was called the Mile Cross Clubs, and each rider wore a vest with a club symbol. 

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Every rider had a nickname, his was Swede, and they all eagerly awaited the speedway results and reports in the Norwich Evening News each week. 

He said: "You rode three times and you got up to four points. There weren't many weeks I didn't get the maximum 12 points."

David Cushine with a copy of the EDP story about a Hethersett Hawks project called The Nest

David Cushine with a copy of the EDP story about a Hethersett Hawks project called The Nest, which aims to bring national and international competition to the village and provide world-class track facilities for enthusiasts. The story brought back happy memories for Mr Cushine, who himself raced speedway in his youth. - Credit: Peter Cushine

Graham Jones, from North Walsham, regularly chats to Mr Cushine as part his volunteering with the town's Good Neighbours scheme. Knowing of his history in speedway, Mr Jones sent Mr Cushine the EDP article.

Mr Jones said: "He was so excited about it. He said that the article brought back many happy memories. He said that the photographs had not left his wallet since 1950." 

Mr Cushine even represented Norfolk at cycle speedway, racing in front of crowds many ranks deep at Wimbledon and West Ham.
 

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