Former Double World Champion, Wembley Team Manager of the 70's and ex-president of the WSRA (formally the Veteran Speedway Riders’ Association) has much more than his Speedway career to be proud of. The Williams family is a sporting one, possibly THE most sporting family in the UK, and if you do not believe me, look at his Family Tree:-
At the time when Fred was burning up the Speedway tracks of the world, wife Pat was Ice Skating of Great Britain in the Olympics. Later, their children got into the act and son, David was a professional golfer, and daughters, Jane and Sarah, excellent horsewomen, collecting winning rosettes and prizes from all over the equestrian world. Jane is now one of the top horsewomen in the UK.
As if that was not enough for one family, granddaughter, Joanna is a Junior Ice Skating Champion and granddaughter, Harriet is also an accomplished equestrian like her mother, Jane. Some family!
It was because of Jane that Fred, Pat, my wife, Edith and myself found ourselves at The Royal Windsor Horse Show in May. Jane was competing on various horses in various classes and got some “pit passes” for us, so I was looking forward to seeing a different type of ‘Horsepower’.
Whilst we were walking across to one of the show arenas, a large black Range Rover drew up and the driver, a small, grey-haired lady wearing a quilted “horsey-type” waistcoat got out and walked pat us......It was The Queen!
We were really excited and snapped a few photographs but she only stayed for one event, where her own horse was competing. Unfortunately for Her Majesty, her horse did not win...... The event was won by Jane Webber-Williams, Freddie’s daughter, thus keeping up the winning streak of that amazing family. As the Queen drove away from the arena, I managed to do my “Papparazi Act” and photographed her behind the wheel just before she ran over my foot!For Freddie and Pat, it was not the first encounter with The Queen. Previously, they had been invited to the Goring Hotel in London for a special Gala Dinner. Grand-daughter, Harriet, is on the staff of the Queen’s cousin, Lady Elizabeth Anson and had arranged for them to visit this very posh function. “Wait here”, said Harriet to her grandparents and, as they stood there with other quests, The Queen came along and spoke to them, saying that she had heard they were a very sporting family.... Pat explained that she had been Ice Skating for Great Britain in the Olympics and that Fred had won the World Speedway Championship twice whereby The Queen leaned over, grabbing an imaginary pair of handlebars and mimed a Speedway bike sliding into the corners!......Amazing!
So there you are, our Speedway sport has friends in high places and Freddie Williams is very modest about his family’s sporting prowess and Royal connections. I guess it must be time for Fred to get an Honour in the Next Queen’s Honours List and THAT would be a great boost for Speedway!
By Bert Harkins (2010)
Freddie Williams making an after dinner speech at the WSRA 2012
Olympic Lions, the Wembley side of 1968 - from the left, Trainer Bob Wells, Bill Gilbert, George Saunders, Fred Williams, Ray Craighead, Wilbur Lamoreaux, Split Waterman and Manager Alec Jackson on machine Tommy Price
Freddie Williams attends to his brother Eric whilst Tommy Price and Alex Jackson look on.
New Cross circa 1950