Tom Simson Memorial Fund
The Tom Simpson memorial fund was originally set up in 1997 in order to collect money to pay for a memorial stone to be set up in Harworth, the place where Tom grew up and started his cycling career. Generous donations from those who took part in the first Tom Simpson Memorial ride that year raised sufficient funds to provide the memorial stone that now stands on Scrooby Road at the gates to the Harworth Miner’s Recreation Ground and was unveiled by Tom’s widow, Helen Hoban, in the summer of 1997.
Tom captured above just beating Nino Defillippis in the 1961 Tour of Flanders
The Harworth stone is almost identical to the one that stands on Mont Ventoux where Tom died whilst taking part in the 1967 Tour de France. It was erected soon after his death as a result of donations from British cyclists. However, some 30 years later that stone had suffered from the effects of the harsh climate found on the Ventoux and was on the point of collapsing so again the fund asked for contributions so that it could be saved.
With the help of the actor Simon Dutton, who supervised the work in France and made a significant contribution to the fund himself the Ventoux memorial was re-mounted on a new concrete plinth which itself has been anchored into the mountainside with steel rods. It now stands as secure as the first day it was erected.
The fund was also responsible, with a great deal of help from the Harworth Miner’s Welfare, for setting up a collection of Tom Simpson memorabilia, which is now on display in the sports pavilion at the Harworth recreation ground. This display was unveiled in 2002 by the winner of the 1976 Tour de France, Lucien Van Impe, who comes from near to Ghent, the Belgian city in which Tom Simpson lived during the most successful part of his cycling career. With a great deal of help from the Harworth Miner’s Welfare the fund was also responsiblefor setting up a collection of Tom Simpson memorabilia which is now on display in the sports pavilion at the Harworth recreation ground. This display was unveiled in 2002 by the winner of the 1976 Tour de France, Lucien Van Impe, who comes from near to Ghent, the Belgian city in which Tom Simpson lived during the most successful part of his cycling career.
Tom seen alongside Belgium legend Rik Van Looy
In 2002 it was the fund’s wish to create a bigger memorial to Tom in the shape of a cycling centre at the Harworth recreation ground, and a number of people, including Tom’s close friend from Belgium Albert Beurick, donated items of Simpson memorabilia to be sold to fund the project. However, after unsuccessful negotiation with landowners, it has proved impossible to obtain the further land required at the site in order to create a viable racing circuit.
We are left therefore with a decision on what to do in the interim with donations the fund possesses. An amount of money will be set aside to ensure that both of the memorial stones are cared for in the future and a proposal that steps be created to give easier access to the Ventoux memorial is being considered. But the fund would still like to find another way to commemorate Tom’s name and to use the things that people have so generously donated.
A link with a British commercial team that is racing on the continent is being considered. It was one of Tom’s greatest ambitions during his lifetime and he even set the wheels in motion to achieve this desire way back in 1965. He believed absolutely that British cyclists were as good as any in the world and just needed the opportunity.