|Tim McGrane (25/02/1938 - 12/02/2012) “Thanks for Coming!!”|
It is with great sadness that the Club announces the death of Tim McGrane, a Vice-President of the Club.
In recent years "Tim" as he was known at Bemsee, will be fondly remembered as regular member of the Technical Team. Indeed in the late 70’s and early 80’s he was the Chief Technical Official for Bemsee and later a Director of the Club. As a Director he upheld the high standards Bemsee has always stood for and was noted for listening to both sides of any debate before commenting decisively.
He was a gentle soul although a man of strong principles who when on the Board, personally faced down Nicola Foulston when she was attempting to take over Bemsee in around 1990. Tim never had a bad word for anyone, apart from those he considered a threat to the Bemsee, the Club he loved so dearly.
Tim was made a Vice president in 2010, a worthy appointment for someone who had served the Club so well and for so long.
Some words and memories from past Chairman, Jeff Matthews...
I first met Tim in 1988 during my first season of racing. Prior to entering my first Bemsee event I had raced with two other clubs and had a problem with the scrutineers at both clubs over, would you believe it, valve caps!! On the first occasion I presented my outfit at the scrutineering bay as it was then known, I was told by a rather officious scrutineer that plasic valve caps were not acceptable as they could distort and come off, so I changed them for metal ones and the outfit passed.
On the second occasion I duly presented my outfit only to be told by another equally officious scrutineer that the metal valve caps were not acceptable for if they came off they could cause a puncture to another machine, so I put the plastic ones back on and lo and behold the outfit passed.
So as I approached the Bemsee scrutineering bay for the first time I wondered what would be in store for me from this lot. My fears were not helped by the sight of a very large, imposing looking Irishman dressed in White British Airways overalls. The first thought that went through my mind was " oh! I bet I'll get some stick off of him". How wrong can you be!!
The first words that Tim ever spoke to me were " hello dare, tanks fer coming", a greeting that he has used for the past 24 years whenever we met. Tim loved sidecars and after meticulously checking the machine, passed it and complimented me on its preparation. I immediately warmed to this big man and related the story of the valve cap dramas. He made no comment but just smiled a knowing smile.
My next meeting was also at Bemsee and once again Tim scrutineered the outfit. After passing it he said " oive got a little someting for you" and produced three beautifully engineered valve caps, "here put these on and if you get any trouble from any other Clubs just tell them that they are off Concorde, and if the're good enough for Concorde then the're good enough for anything" unbeknown to me, Tim was a team leader of the ground handling crew at Heathrow with special responsibility for Concorde.
Such was the kindness of this man. He also added, " though why you would want to race with any other Club" and from that day on I only ever raced with Bemsee, and a friendship started that endured to this day.
Tim used to bring his two grandsons, Sam and Robert to meetings, they are grown men now, but then they were small boys who shared their grandfathers love of sidecars. They became part of our team and on race day always came down to our outfit to help with cleaning, changing wheels, checking tyre pressures etc. I have a lovely photograph of little Robert who was the youngest and only about three feet tall, holding an umbrella over me and the outfit while I was trying to sort an electrical problem out, the umbrella was bigger than Robert but he persevered with his task despite getting soaked in the process.
Although Tim was ever friendly he was always professional and never let anything go. I had changed the linkage on the gearshift and he was concerned that it looked a bit fragile, "I want those nuts lock wired" he said, "ok" I replied " I'll do it as soon as I get back to the van" expecting him to sign my card. No way! that card was not signed until he had seen and approved what I had done. With Tim it had to be right.
There was also another side to this seemingly ever jovial man as I discovered on Joining the Board of Directors of the club. Tim wouldn't waste words at Board meetings, but when he spoke you listened! He was never afraid to voice his opinions, and stand by them, even if they went against the majority. He would never be persuaded from what he believed to be right, regardless of any pressure he was put under, a trait that is sadly becoming a rarity in this day and age.
I have so many enduring memories of Tim, his friendliness, kindness, willingness to help anybody, his love of food, he would eat anything provided it was ham, egg, and chips! washed down with a pint of something! Just ask John Wilson and Henry Cullen!
As well as my memories, I consider myself very fortunate to have four tangible reminders of Tim. The T.T. McGrane trophy which I was awarded in 1998, and the three Concorde valve caps that I removed from my outfit after retiring. They stand together in my trophy cabinet as a constant reminder of an extraordinary man I was lucky enough to call a friend.
Tim McGrane brought a lot of happiness to a lot of people, and he will be sorely missed.
Some words from Tom Nicholas, Son-in-Law...
In Loving Memory of my Father-in-Law, My Friend:
Tom McGrane (known as Grandad to the family and Tim to his many friends) passed away peacefully on Sunday 12 February 2012. A great loss for everyone that knew him.
I have wonderful memories of this man that will always be with me and here are some that I wish to share with those who knew him well.
My first encounter with Tom was when Denise invited me back to the family house to have a meal and meet with her Mum and Dad. Tom was quick to break the ice and after our meal proceeded to show me his handy work around the house. He was installing central heating. There were floor boards pulled up here, there and everywhere with lengths of copper pipe running all over the house. To be fair Tom proved to be a very capable plumber and the central heating installation was a great success but as for replacing floor boards and making good, it didn’t happen quite as it should have.
Throughout our relationship, I became Tom’s fixer, he would often start a DIY job and sooner or later I would finish it.
As for those floor boards, they never were quite right after Tom completed his central heating installation. Over time, I started to stay weekends at the family house and soon got caught-up with Tom and his merry band of men visiting the local club on a Friday night. He would down his first few pints as fast as he could often racing his brother Jim to the bar to get the next round. I didn’t stand a chance and Tom wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was the same outcome every Friday night, at “last orders” I would have four maybe five pints sat in front of me (I just couldn’t keep-up) and then a round of shorts would hit the table.
We would stagger down the road and stop at Jim’s house (next door to Tom’s house) and Jim would start a fry-up, I don’t know how we did it. Eventually Tom and I would have to creep back to his house and get up the stairs without waking Olive or Denise. "Which step is it that creaks" I would whisper to Tom? Trying to be as quiet as mice (not possible for Tom and I) we would always stand on a creaky step, jumping to the next that creaked even more and as you would expect, waking Olive.
We never cured those creaking steps.
After Denise and I were married our family grew, Tom became Grandad to Sam, Robert, Victoria, Sophia and Francesca. Grandad was at the centre of all that our family experienced. Sam and Robert grew up to appreciate Grandad’s love of motorbikes and his passion for BEMSEE, Victoria, Sophia and Francesca just loved having him around for trips to the funfair, family parties and Christmas.
Grandad, as he was known to us never did master the art of DIY although it has to be said that he was an excellent plumber and a great mechanic. Even now I can remember him being asked to fix a screw in the wall to hang a picture. He didn’t do screws, that required drilling a hole so he would use a hammer and nail, any old nail banged into the wall. The end result, cracked plaster, nail in the wrong place and the picture would not hang straight.
Grandad was more than a Father-in-Law to me. He was a friend, a very good friend who was always ready to lend a helping hand when I needed it. Thank you for everything Grandad.
Grandad has always played a major part in my life and that of my family’s, he will continue to do so as I know that never a day will pass without him being included in our thoughts and our actions.
From one Tom to another...“Soup for the breakfast!”
Never did know what that saying meant.
From a Friend, Mike Warrington,
Memories of Tom
My first encounter with Tom was at our local motorcycle club in surrey in the early sixties.
I was racing at the time and Tom started coming with me to races including Bemsee mettings as Mechanic.
Although he had a wife Olive and young daughter Denise they accepted everything we did together, it was never too trouble for him to assist in any way he could, not only did we do race meetings but other motorcycle events including many Dragon Rallies with his brother Jim in the sidecar.
As to drinking we spent more time in the bars than on the circuit, he was the greatest friend any one can hope for.
We carried on racing until the mid seventies, when I retired but I know Tom continued with Bemsee, where he gained the respect and admiration of all he encountered.
Wherever Tom is let's hope they have a 24/7 bar as he deserves it.
Our Sincere Sympathies extend to Olive. Denise and all his very large family.
Michael and Daphne Warrington.
Thanks for coming Tim, the Club will miss you and our thoughts are with Olive, his wife and the family at this difficult time.