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New youth award reflects the spirit of Inverurie’s World Cycling Champion

By David Porter

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After having hosted a successful UCI 2023 World Cycling Championships in Scotland, local attention earlier this year turned to an unsung hero of the cycling world who hailed from the north-east, as efforts were made to recognise his success.

Ion Keith Falconer.
Ion Keith Falconer.

Cycle Aberdeenshire as part of Live Life Aberdeenshire and Aberdeenshire Council, has secured a local legacy award to recognise the past achievements of Ion Grant Neville Keith-Falconer, the third son of the 8th Earl of Kintore, who competed as a cyclist and secured the title of World Champion back in 1878.

In March this year, Live Life Aberdeenshire, via Mark Fraser, the owner of the Pedal Power cycling shop in Inverurie, highlighted the amazing story behind Mr Keith-Falconer’s exploits, that saw him referred to as having been a cycling World Champion and a very successful long-distance cyclist.

Following the interest that was generated by the original article, discussions took place in relation to securing a permanent way of acknowledging the achievements of Mr Keith-Falconer.

The Ion Keith Falconer award will be presented each year in his memory. Picture: David Porter
The Ion Keith Falconer award will be presented each year in his memory. Picture: David Porter

And today the Inverurie based TEN Cycling Club were presented with a new trophy called the Ion Keith-Falconer Memorial Award for Youth Achievement, which has been made possible thanks to funding from the Garioch Area Committee.

The new award will provide an annual recognition to of one of the club’s youth cyclists, based on their overall contribution to the club and not just cycling performances.

TEN Cycling Club (Team Ecosse Northboats) cycling club is an inclusive, fun and approachable club offering various rides and activities to cater for a wide range of abilities.

Established in 2014, they been supported by boatbuilder and repairer, Northboats, and are a very sociable group affiliated to Scottish Cycling and based in Inverurie.

As well as providing youth coaching, the club is primarily interested in providing a friendly and easy going environment in which to cycle.

Making the presentation to the club, The Earl of Kintore, James Falconer Keith said: "It is a honour to hand it over to the club.

"It is one of those things to look back at an ancestor and their achievements that barely anyone knew about, whereas in today's world he would have been very famous with recognition for his achievements and done great things for the community."

TEN's Leonie Kirk said: "He truly embodied what the TEN's ethos is and the social element of the club as well and it is fantastic to have this new trophy that we know our younger members will be proud of."

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