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Written by Laurence Richards   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012

We very much regret to record the passing of three of our members within the space of a few weeks during the summer. On behalf of the Committee, our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family and friends of each of them.

Betty Prior

Betty was born on September 18th 1928 in Faversham, one of 10 children. After school she joined the WRENs – she was proud of that time in the Service and of doing her bit for her country. After leaving the WRENs, Betty started work at Vickers as a comptometer operator – and that’s where she and Derek met in 1954. They were married 3 years later. Their first 8 years together were spent in a caravan at Ripley, but moved to Ash Vale in 1965. Betty worked in the Civil Service until her retirement.

As Witley members for 59 years, Betty and Derek were always together and always involved, helping out at all the Club sporting and social occasions. Betty was, according to Derek, the best pillion rider in the world, and the two of them toured across the Continent and of course, until Betty’s health prevented it, never missed the TT!

Betty passed away following an operation for a broken hip early in August. She was a lovely lady and a good friend who we will always remember with gratitude.

Fittingly, her final journey to the commital at Guildford Crematorium was in a fine Triumph-powered sidecar-hearse, Derek on pillion, accompanied by many of her friends on over 30 bikes. The mourners then returned to the Clubroom to share memories.

A Message from Derek:

“I would like to say a big Thank You to all in the Club for the help and support you have given me in the past weeks, and for the money you kindly gave in lieu of flowers to Cancer Research UK, to the total sum of £720.

Derek Prior

Alec Jay
Alec passed away on August 25th having been diagnosed with cancer only a few months earlier.

Read Bernard’s tribute on this page to find out – or remind yourself – about his life.

The funeral at Woking Crematorium was preceded by a cortege of over 50 motorcycles ridden by Alec’s friends, and the chapel was overflowing. The wake was once again held at the Clubroom.

Alec was one of the kindest people I have known in motorcycling – particularly making me feel welcome when I joined the Witley Club around 40 years ago – and one who was never too busy to help when there was a mechanical problem!



A Message from Helen: 

“I would like to say thanks to all the guys and dolls who turned out to give Alec such a wonderful send-off on his last journey. He loved to be with all who had bikes. You raised £792 for the Sam Beare Hospice, Weybridge. Many thanks”.

Helen Jay and family

Alec Jay's Funeral Procession

Just part of the proccession leaving Fairlands

John Martin

While perhaps not quite such a long-term Witley member, John certainly made a great contribution during his time with the Club, as a Committee member and especially with his involvement in organising the Three-Stage trials, and other sporting events. He also enjoyed his work on restoring the 1930s Francis Barnett, reported in 2010, and of course riding his Triumph Bonneville!

John passed away at the end of August, just after his friend Alec, following a long battle with cancer. Not only did he have his own health struggle but also supported his late wife Pat (who passed away in July 2011) during her last couple of years with the same condition. Both showed great bravery as they helped each other in those difficult times.

The funeral was held at Woking Crematorium and again many Witley members were in attendance. John will be remembered as a generous, charming gentleman who will be much missed.


John with Pat at a Witley Dinner Bisley


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