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Tributes paid to renowned speedway rider who would 'do anything for anyone'

PUBLISHED: 08:57 30 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:33 30 August 2019

Ex Norfolk speedway star Clive Featherby revisiting the city in 2004. Photo: Angela Sharpe

Ex Norfolk speedway star Clive Featherby revisiting the city in 2004. Photo: Angela Sharpe

Archant © 2004

One of Norfolk's most renowned speedway riders, known for his take no prisoners approach to racing, has died aged 86.

Ex Norfolk speedway star Clive Featherby revisiting the city in 2004. Photo: Angela SharpeEx Norfolk speedway star Clive Featherby revisiting the city in 2004. Photo: Angela Sharpe

Having grown up in Norfolk, Clive Featherby began racing aged 14 and later moved to South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, where he settled.

Over the course of his career, he raced at King's Lynn, The Firs in Norwich, Sheffield and Cradley Heath in the west midlands, each time impressing with his sheer determination to be the first across the finishing line.

He also represented Great Britain on the track against Russia, before retiring from the sport in 1972 following a crash. In 1983, his son Craig died in a speedway accident at Peterborough, a tragedy which greatly affected the family.

Neil Featherby, another of his three sons, described his father as loving, an animal lover and someone who instilled in his children a strong work ethic.

Clive Featherby with another former speedway rider, the late Nigel Boocock in Australia. Picture: submitted by Neil FeatherbyClive Featherby with another former speedway rider, the late Nigel Boocock in Australia. Picture: submitted by Neil Featherby

He said he was a Jekyll and Hyde character on and off the race track, and added: "He was a totally different person away from the track, he would do anything for anyone - apart from when you were on the same race track as him.

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"I remember talking to a King's Lynn speedway rider who had spent the whole day with my dad, who was encouraging him, setting him up for his first race and even giving him his dinner, then on the track he squeezed him right out.

"They called him a Jekyll and Hyde character, on the track he gave it his all."

Mr Featherby said since news of his father's death had spread he had received dozens of tributes, both from those who knew his father personally, competed against him or watched him race. He said: "There's some absolutely lovely comments saying things about [Dad] but they all come back to his racing.

"He was a big tough guy on the track but couldn't harm a fly away from it. He would do anything for anyone, he was always available.

"He always encouraged us to do the best we could, not to do wrong by anyone and be kind."

Mr Featherby died in Brisbane on August 28, and leaves behind three sons, two daughters, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild in Australia and the UK.

His funeral will take place in Australia, and there will also be a service at the Soul Church in Norwich.

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