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World Speedway Riders’ Association Lunch
at Paradise Park,
Home of the Nation Speedway Museum

by Bert Harkins

"Another day, and another great WSRA (World Speedway Riders' Association) lunch, this time at Paradise Wildlife Park, home of our National Speedway Museum. Over 60 members and friends turned up for the lunch on a blustery Saturday  afternoon, but we had a couple of important formalities to  take care of before the meal could get underway.

Tucked away in the woods in a quiet part of Paradise Wildlife Park, in Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, we have a Speedway Memorial Garden, with plaques depicting various riders and Speedway personalities who have gone to the great Pit Area in the sky, and on Saturday, we unveiled another two, one for a double World Champion, and one for a dedicated team mechanic.

The double World Champion was, of course, our former WSRA President, Freddie Williams, who died suddenly on 20th January and the other plaque was for former Edinburgh Monarchs' team mechanic, Artie Fisher who died the following day. Everyone knew Fred, but Artie was  the quiet "Backroom Boy" of Edinburgh Speedway and worked on engines for all the top Monarchs' riders plus helping the local juniors to  understand the mechanics of a Speedway bike.

One such Junior was Alex Hughson, who later progressed to riding for the Edinburgh team before departing to Zimbabwe (Rhodesia at that time) and South Africa to promote Speedway. Alex purchased the plague in memory of Artie who had helped him a lot in his early days. Alex now lives in Arroyo Grande in California and has Phil Collins (the ex-Cradley star, not the Rock Star!) as his near neighbour, so there is still plenty of Speedway talk around the Hughson household.

Obviously, it was too far for Alex to come over from California to personally unveil Artie's plaque, but we were delighted to have most of Freddie Williams' family on hand to  unveil the one for Freddie. Five generations of the Williams family were represented, from Fred's widow, Pat, to daughters, Jayne & Sarah, grand-daughters, Harriet & Lucy , grandson, Freddie Junior and great-grandson, Max, quite a line-up and still achieving sporting success. Fred would be very proud.

Jayne, who is one of the top Horsewomen in the UK, had competed at the Windsor Horse Show the previous day where she won five events (including beating The Queen's horse!) whilst her brother David was in Madeira for the PGA Golf Tournament and David's daughter, Lucy was due to fly out to Sweden for a Golf Tournament the next day. Fred's widow, Pat, daughter, Jayne and grandson, Freddie Junior, had the honour of unveiling the plaque, so now another two Speedway legends, Freddie and Artie are remembered in our Memorial Garden.

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