Over to Brenda for her side of this story
Have you always lived in North Devon Brenda, and how did you come to meet John?
I was born and raised in Stoke, near Hartland. I went to Hartland School. I met John when I went on a blind date to Bideford Cinema when I was 15. I did not think too much of him on that first date, but he kind of grew on me as time went on. We courted for seven years, and every weekend we would go to a trial. Both my parents and John's used to observe. We got married in 1974 in Hartland. Ian Haydon was John's best man.
How did you come to start the Trials school?
The Lyn Club started it. Elaine Baker and Rob Doran used to run a training weekend at Ian's father's place, but there was some problem with another piece of land, so I said why not come up to our place at Wembsworthy. Malcolm Redstone advised that if we applied for a grant from the South West Centre, the ACU would probably match it. We did it through the Torridge Club, and I think we started off with £100. That was 25 years ago. We started with 8 or 10 riders. Joe Baker was one of the first pupils, and now he is one of our trainers. We ran it on a Thursday and Friday, and the proceeds went to CLIC because I had a friend whose child had Leukaemia. We supported CLIC all the way through until 2005 when we split it with CRY — Cardiac Risk in the Young because of the sudden death of our son Martyn. In our last year in 2016 we raised £4,400 for CRY, and over the years we have raised over £100,000 for charity.
Who were the trainers in the early days?
We had Martin Crosswaite and Wayne Braybrook, and then there was Steve Saunders and Chris Berry. Of course, some are brilliant riders but find it more difficult to put the ideas across, while others who are not quite so brilliant can be better at training techniques. We can use them all.
Tell me about your organisation
It takes a lot of people to run the school of 60 to 70 riders. In fact, we had to put a ceiling on the entry. We have ten trainers at any one time, including Jo Baker, Colin Crease, Barry Husband, Roger Johns, Robin Martin, Alan Pearce, Dave Price, Ray Samways and Simon Welsh. It obviously takes a lot of organisation, and we get help from a lot of people. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my main organisational helpers Heather Allan, Kay Dallyn, Julia Rawle and Angela Spry. Of course, there is also our Chef Nick Hunt, who does an extraordinary job at the barbeque with all those sausages and spuds.
What do you do in your spare time? Did you help with the lambing?
In the main John managed the sheep, although I used to help where I was able. Now we have sold all our sheep I do not have to get up at 11.00pm to help with the lambing, which is a blessing although John misses it quite a bit. On two days a week, I used to work in an 'Aladdin's Cave' in Bradworthy. It is a shop that sells almost anything, from ironmongery to furniture etc. I have good memories of Martyn, which I will never lose, and it is hard for both me and John at times. We have bought a caravan now and can get out for some days to enjoy our semiretirement. Our support for CRY was a memorial to Martyn to purchase equipment that can do a simple check on children to establish whether they are susceptible to cardiac arrest. These checks are carried out automatically in the USA and also Italy in the European Community. We hope that eventually, it will become a standard check for all children when they are born in Britain. The Martyn Luckett Memorial Trust Fund managed to get 150 ten- to fourteen-yearolds screened in 2017.
It’s 1976 and John is still trying his very best on the Ossa.
One of the last outings on the Ossa at the 1977 end of season British Experts Trial.
The 1975 South West Centre Team at the Inter Centre Team Trial (from left): Brian Higgins (Honda), Ian Haydon (Yamaha), Alan Dommett (Bultaco), John Luckett (Ossa) and Martin Strang (Ossa)
John went on strike along with the rest of the entry at the 1975 British Experts, but this picture is from earlier in the day.
Still enjoying his trials riding, John is seen here in the 2016 West of England Clubs Moor to Sea Trial on the Montesa Cota 4RT. In 1978 with fellow riders and friends Brian Higgins, John Luckett, Martin Strang and Allan Hunt. 2007: It’s trophy time...