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Cyril & Iris farewell 

Iris & Cyril  Bean : 16-May-2011

May 16 at the Queens Head Meriden saw us give a presentation and say farewell to Cyril and Iris Bean, as they were moving house a couple of days later to be closer to their family in Nottingham.  This is effect was the end of an era, as both Cyril and Iris were the two people responsible for the very existence of "A Coventry Way" when after many months of studying ordnance survey maps of the Coventry area, Cyril came up with the present day route, and then, supported by his family Cyril completed the circuit in 1974 taking around 15 hours to do so.  The "Way" of course was nothing like as walker friendly in those days as it is today.  Many paths had long since fallen into disrepair with stiles broken or overgrown.  But I won't dwell too much on the history as it is well documented in the paper booklets that thanks to John Green were made available on the night of the presentation.

It was so pleasing to see so many people turn out on a Monday evening to wish them both well.  It had all been arranged at very short notice as, although we knew that they were leaving, the actual date of the move was not known until a week or so beforehand.  But despite this, almost everyone who was invited to come along managed to get there which was great to see. Even Cyril and Iris' daughter and son in law, Nicky and Paul came along together with their two young daughters all the way from Nottingham which was a lovely touch to the proceedings.

The presentations were made by two ACW members who probably have over the years spent more time with Cyril and Iris than any of us. Keith Greenall gave us all a very interesting talk about the way he and Cyril spent many hours together sitting in front of the computer whilst producing the "21 Circular Walks" which has proved so popular with the local walking fraternity, and then moved on to talk about the good times they had together whilst out in the countryside setting up geocaching sites.  He then finished off by presenting them with a framed picture of them both on the top of "The Tump" at Brinklow which had been cleverly overlaid, by Peter Page with wording of appreciation for all their work over the years for the Association.

Then, after a break for us to "partake" of the buffet, Bob Brandon resumed the presentations with a lovely talk about early orienteering competitions and the helpful hints that Cyril had given him to improve his navigational skills.  Bob also recalled that after much arm twisting he managed to get Cyril to "re invent" the Coventry Way which Cyril had "put to bed" for quite some years after his initial circuit back in 1974.  Bob then went on to run around the route and so became the second person ever to complete it in the one day.  That then spawned the "Challenge" as we know it today. Bob then made a presentation of the digital photo frame which had been running all evening showing photos of many places around "A Coventry Way" as well as many others in the 21 walks book.  Some of the photos were those taken by their son Duncan many years ago while others were very recent. Again, Peter did a great job of imputing and improving the quality of these pictures.

The association also presented them both with a monetary cheque for them to buy whatever they might need in their new home.  It was lovely to hear Cyril respond to many of the things that were said, it was obvious that he really enjoyed the evening as did Iris.  All that we can hope now is that they will enjoy their new home and the comfort of knowing that they are close to their lovely family.

A big thanks must go to Carolyn and Lawrence at the Queens Head for being so helpful in allowing us to organise the evening at such short notice, especially considering it meant erecting the marquee again specially for the event.  We are of course hoping that we can start and finish next year's "Challenge" there again when hopefully Cyril and Iris will come down to visit us on the day.

For more photos, see SkyDrive Slideshow 

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