Bill Higson

In Memoriam

Bill Higson

Bill Higson was a well-liked and enthusiastic member of Reading Wheelers Cycling Club. The son of Wheelers chairman Stan Higson (who led the club through to 1974 when it amalgamated with the Bon Amis Cycling Club to become Reading Cycling Club), Bill was a good all-rounder with success on both road and track including wins in the Presidents ‘50’ (1960 & 61).

He always enjoyed the club cyclo-cross, called a ‘scramble’ in those days, and usually ended up in the pond at Burghfield Common, complete with bike, for a post-race ‘dip’.

Bill was tragically killed in a motorcycling accident in 1965. Since then the club’s annual cyclo-cross event has been held in his memory.

The original event is one of the oldest continuously-run cyclo-cross events in the south of England, having first been run in 1947.

Photo: Bill riding in the Reading Wheelers ‘Scramble’ in 1964 (photo by Graham Yates, originally published on Wessex Cyclo-Cross League website).

Bill Higson Memorial Cup

In 1965 Alan Jacob (a former Peace Race rider well-known ‘Independent’ rider in the 1960’s) was a guest at the Reading Wheelers club dinner and donated a trophy, which became the ‘Bill Higson Memorial Cup’ to be awarded to the winner of the club’s annual cyclo-cross.

Some fifty years after this generous donation, Alan Jacob provided the following update:

I remember being invited to attend your club’s annual dinner…and learning that you had lost a valued member. It just happened that in the summer of 1960 I had won the Hull International Road Race, an event that had been promoted to showcase the selected British team for the Rome Olympics. They presented me with a trophy which, as I remember, had not been engraved. I think that I was supposed to arrange the engraving myself but as a young married man with a wife, one child, and a mortgage to support, there was not much spare cash available! It just seemed at that time, to be a much better idea to give that trophy to your club where it could be used to commemorate a valued club member.”

The cup is awarded annually to the winner of the men’s senior race. The first winner being Dave Wren in 1966. Former national cyclo-cross champion Keith Mernickle amassed ten victories between 1967 & 1979.

Bill Higson Women’s Cup

In 2017 a women’s cup was awarded for the first time. The first recipient was Helen Pattinson who was crowned UCI Masters Cyclo-Cross World Champion later that year.

The Event Today

The Bill Higson Memorial Cyclo-Cross is currently promoted by Reading Cycling Club as part of the Wessex Cyclo-Cross League. Since 2008 the event has taken place in Prospect Park, Reading. The course is one of the most popular and challenging in the league combining technical wooded sections, fast grassy straights and punchy climbs.

Previous venues include Burghfield Common, Wokefield Common and Newbury Showground.

The increasing popularity of cyclo-cross means over 400 entries are received. Races are currently held for Under-10’s, Under-12’s, Youths, Women, Veterans (40+), Veterans (50+) and Senior men.

Past Winners

2023 Matthew Coulson Anna Patterson Prospect Park, Reading
2022 Adrian Lansley Lucy Gadd Prospect Park, Reading
2021 Adrian Lansley Adeline Moreau Prospect Park, Reading
2019 Adrian Lansley Lindy Brazier-Larkin Prospect Park, Reading
2018 Callum Macleod Katie Scott Prospect Park, Reading
2017 Adrian Lansley Helen Pattinson Prospect Park, Reading
2016 Michael Cotty Helen Pattinson Prospect Park, Reading
2015 Adrian Lansley Emily Wadsworth Prospect Park, Reading
2014 Adrian Lansley Tamina Oliver Prospect Park, Reading
2013 Chris Minter Tamina Oliver Prospect Park, Reading
2012 Andy Hargroves Tamina Oliver Prospect Park, Reading
2011 Crispin Doyle Tamina Oliver Prospect Park, Reading
2010 Stuart Bowers Hannah Bowers Prospect Park, Reading
2009 Adrian Lansley Claire Smith Prospect Park, Reading
2008 Chris Ansell Claire Smith Prospect Park, Reading
2007 Tim Dunford Claire Hall Newbury Showground
2006 Phil Smith Claire Hall Newbury Showground
2005 Darren Atkins Victoria Wilkinson Newbury Showground
2004 Adrian Lansley Catherine Pascoe Newbury Showground
2003 Tim Dunford Kate Bowers Wokefield Common
2002 Stuart Bowers Deana Dibnah Wokefield Common
2001 Paul Lloyd Liz Tier Wokefield Common
2000 Paul Lloyd Loretta Kirwan TBC
1999 Mick Bell Elaine Stockings TBC
1998 Jamie Norfolk TBC
1997 Andrew Butt TBC
1996 Andrew MacDonald TBC
1995 Andrew Taylor Wendy Cushing Burghfield Common
1994 TBC
1993 A Ford TBC
1992 Peter Smith TBC
1991 TBC
1990 Barrie Clarke TBC
1989 Phil Watkins TBC
1988 Graham Douce TBC
1987 Mike Bell TBC
1986 TBC
1985 Pete Sanders TBC
1984 Mark Bell TBC
1983 TBC
1982 Mark Sullivan TBC
1981 Barry Davies TBC
1980 Martin Springel TBC
1979 Keith Mernickle TBC
1978 Keith Mernickle TBC
1977 Ian Jewell Burghfield Common
1976 Keith Mernickle Burghfield Common
1975 Carlo Lafranchi (SUI) Burghfield Common
1974 Keith Mernickle Burghfield Common
1973 Keith Mernickle Burghfield Common
1972 Keith Mernickle Burghfield Common
1971 Keith Mernickle Burghfield Common
1970 Keith Mernickle Burghfield Common
1969 Keith Mernickle Burghfield Common
1968 John Atkins Burghfield Common
1967 Keith Mernickle Burghfield Common
1966 Dave Wren Burghfield Common

Crowley Park, Harpsden?

1965 TBC TBC
1964 TBC TBC
1963 TBC TBC
1962 TBC TBC
1961 TBC TBC
1960 TBC TBC
1959 TBC TBC
1958 TBC TBC
1957 TBC TBC
1956 TBC TBC
1955 TBC TBC
1954 TBC TBC
1953 TBC TBC
1952 TBC TBC
1951 TBC TBC
1950 TBC TBC
1949 TBC TBC
1948 TBC TBC
1947 TBC TBC
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