Our Friend John Meadows

This month we’ve had to say farewell to John Meadows, a great friend and champion for safe cycling on the A10. He’s pictured here at Royston Town Hall a few years ago, third from left, following a meeting of the A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign with Cambridgeshire County Council officer Simon Manville, who gave a sneak preview of the proposed Melbourn Greenway and the link to Royston, a scheme that was formally adopted by the Greater Cambridge Partnership in June 2020.

John was also at the inaugural meeting of the A10 Campaign in January 2013, with a big smile and ready to do absolutely anything necessary to make the bridge to Royston a reality. Every year he’d say, ‘it’s been 2-3-4-5-6-7-8! years – why haven’t we got the bridge yet?’ As a former Royston Town Councillor, he knew first-hand the bureaucracies of local government. Equally, he understood how vital it was to develop strong relationships in every quarter – and he was always the first to spot potential and cultivate these.

‘Keep smiling!’ John would always say, encouraging us on our way. His trademark red hair and red bicycles were emblematic of his unrestrained passion, and often at campaign meetings, Jill would put her hand gently on John’s arm. We all knew it was coming and indeed it was John’s passion that injected the fire we needed for the campaign – and after each meeting we knew we’d taken another step forward. Once when a tour was offered to a key official who wanted to experience first-hand the awful existing A10 path between Royston and Melbourn, John arranged to loan one of his bicycles for the occasion. He said to Jill with a grin, ‘Let’s make sure we pump up those tyres to the max. Those potholes need to be fully appreciated!’

A multitude of friendships and traditions have evolved out of the A10 Campaign, including the Tuesday morning Meldreth Marvels cycling group, in which John and Jill have taken part for many years. Still awaiting the safe link to Royston, John and Jill would load their bikes into the back of their car to make the short trip to Meldreth, cycling on with the Marvels from there. While ‘the last mile’ to Royston is still awaited, today the A10 corridor looks very different from when the A10 Campaign kicked off in 2013, and the Marvels always meander onto the network of cycle paths that now feature on the A10 corridor between Melbourn and Cambridge.

When the bridge to Royston is finally built, we’ll be there on its crest with our bicycles, toasting John.

Susan van de Ven

John is third from the left and Jill is next to him, wearing glasses and peeking out from the back row.