Tributes paid to a Star in spectacles
Derek James remembers speedway legend Phil Clarke
A service to celebrate the life and times of the 'man in glasses' –former Norwich speedway legend Phil Clarke – will take place next week.
Thank you for all your calls and messages following my story about Phil's death at the age 88. He gave so many people such pleasure during his career as a speedway rider and captain of the never-to-be-forgotten Norwich Stars.
Former riders and supporters have been paying tribute to Phil, who rode at The Firs for more than a dozen years during which time he scored more points than any other rider.
'I couldn't catch him' said former Star Ove Fundin – who is regarded as the best speedway rider of all time – from his home in the south of France.
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'Phil and his wife Margaret looked after me when I first came to Norwich. I have never forgotten their kindness,' said five times world champion Ove, who was made a Freeman of Norwich a few years ago. 'Phil was a good rider and a clever rider. A difficult man to beat on the track – and a lovely man off it.'
During the 1950s Norwich-born Phil was the backbone of the Norwich team, one of the most popular and exciting sides in the whole of the country – certainly one with the most loyal and devoted fans.
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He also rode for England and at the world finals in Wembley.
After retiring from the track he set up Autobody in Wymondham and went on overseas adventures on his vintage motorcycles.
'We had to get special permission from the authorities when he visited me in Sweden because he didn't have proper lights on his bike,' said Ove.
He was perfectly described by Tony and June Hall of Norwich as 'the perfect gentleman.'
Phil, died aged 88, following a long illness and leaves his wife Margaret, children Chris, Lisa and Bob and six grandchildren
A celebration of his life is taking place at St Faith's Crematorium on Monday, October 25 at 11.45am.