British 1957 cycling champ displays memorabilia to cheer on Women’s Tour through Northamptonshire

Shirley Hockridge, 1957 British cycling champion
Shirley Hockridge, 1957 British cycling champion

While the national Women’s Tour may only be in its second year, cycling is far from new for women in the county.

In the lead-up to tomorrow’s race, 1957 British champion Shirley Hockridge, of Broughton, has dusted off her victory jerseys and memorabilia to share with the town.

It will be displayed throughout the week in the window of No. 4 Cafe-Bar in North Street in Oundle.

The 80-year-old said: “I was 15 when I started cycling and road-racing as we know it today was in its infancy.

“We had to improvise with the bikes we had but in 1957 I got to borrow my brother’s proper racing bike while he was doing his national service.

“A friend’s dad drove us to the race in Birmingham, despite the petrol ration, where I beat the favourite in the last sprint. Prizes back then were donated and I won a fur stole.

“Then my friends and I were invited to take part in the women’s Tour de France, where I came third.

“A little while later I got married - it’s a year I won’t be forgetting.”

Mrs Hockridge, who still cycles 25 miles a week with friends, said about this week’s Tour: “It’s fantastic, good luck to them. They work hard and deserve to do well and I feel like a pioneer towards it.”

She will be watching the start of the race from Rockingham Hill with her husband Michael who won a cycle race there.