THE ANDREW DALRYMPLE AWARD
The Andrew Dalrymple Award is presented annually to the member (or members) who by common assent has (or have) performed especially notable service to Talking Tandems during the previous year.
But who was Andrew Dalrymple, and how did his name come to be associated with Talking Tandems? The following resume of Andrew's life answers the first question and also provides a strong clue as to the answer to the second:“Andrew, usually called Aund by friends and family, was born in 1919 in Kirkcaldy, the middle child of seven. He had five sisters. His only brother, John known as Jock, was born with a heart condition and no thumbs. Their parents were very hard working. His father was very strict with his children. Their mother was very loving and loved. Aund did well at school but left at age 14. There was no question of further education for him or his siblings. He began a butcher’s apprenticeship. One of his jobs was making deliveries on a bike! Apparently there were races between the butchers’ delivery boys using the delivery bikes which may have fostered his love of bike racing. Aund saved up for a bike of his own to enable him to join a cycling club which were very popular in the 1930s. Aund and the family wanted to make sure that Jock could be part of this too so a tandem was the answer. Jock would be able to ride at the back with his brother at the front. A tandem was purchased and Aund and Jock joined the Fife Century Road Club in 1936. Aund soon showed great promise and started to take part in races and time trials. He didn’t train or race with Jock as the family were very mindful of his health. However, they spent a lot of leisure time cycling together. There was a great social aspect to the cycling club and on Sundays there was open house at the Dalrymples where many gathered. Many friendships and romances were formed. Two of Aund’s cycling friends married two of his sisters. Another frequent visitor to the Dalrymples was Jean, a friend of one of Aund’s sisters. Jean would later become Aund’s wife.
Andrew Dalrymple, photo believed to have been taken in 1936
The butcher’s life wasn’t for Aund and he very soon went into the steel industry, initially as a steel erector. He was always interested in building, making things and knowing how things worked. He remained in the steel industry and eventually started his own business which is still in existence today. Any spare time involved cycling. Bikes needed maintenance; they would be stripped down, rebuilt, kept in tip-top condition. There would be little traffic on the roads then and club members knew all the roads for cycling in Fife and beyond. One unusually cold winter Loch Leven was frozen over for a considerable time. Curling matches and skating took place and Aund couldn’t resist cycling Loch Leven from end to end! Aund won many certificates, medals and trophies from taking part in races and time trials. He and a fellow FCRC member, Charles (Chic) Dorward held the Kirkcaldy to St Andrews and back tandem record – 2 hours 8 minutes and 25 seconds for a distance of 40-45 miles as the route might have been back then – which was set in 1938 and stood for many years.
Andrew with his younger bother Jock in 1936. The solo cyclist is George Balfour, who married one of Andrew’s sisters.(The quality of these photographs suggests that they may have been taken by a press photographer). Alongside this is Andrew’s FCA membership handbook which would have allowed him to compete in events organised by FCA.
Extracts from FCA handbook, showing that Andrew had come second in the 1938 ‘Best All Rounder’ competition along with verification of The FCA record set by Andrew Dalrymple and Chic Dorward on 2/10/38 of 2h 8m 25s for Kirkcaldy to St Andrews and back on a tandem, which stood for many years afterwards.
There seems to have been several happy and carefree years with the cycling club but in September 1939 war was declared. Around that time Aund and another FCRC friend were involved in a motorcycle accident. Aund sustained several injuries the most serious being multiple fractures to his right arm. His friend, the owner of the motorcycle, suffered more severe injuries and had to have a hand amputated. Both spent several months in hospital and both recovered and remained life long friends.Tragically, Aund’s brother Jock collapsed and died in 1941. He was 25 years old. When Aund’s fitness was satisfactory he was conscripted into The Royal Army Medical Corps in February 1942. Following initial training he was deployed in France, Belgium and Holland. In 1945 Aund and Jean were married. Aund was eventually demobbed in 1946 after serving in Burma.
This sketch is understood to have been made by the owner of the house in Holland where Andrew was billeted whilst serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps.
The war changed a lot of things for a lot of people. Aund always had a bike but never returned to competitive cycling. In the late 1940s he had a motorcycle and sidecar which accommodated his wife and first daughter. Soon after, he had a car- a long line of cars. He loved travelling, from picnicking in Glen Devon to towing a caravan around Europe! He was a hard worker all his life and had great organisational skills and ability to deal with a crisis. He had admiration for those with the same ethic and little for those who did not. He spoke his mind and was fair and always had great empathy for anyone with a disability. Aund and Jean were married for over 60 years. They are survived by three children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.”It will be clear to anyone reading this resume that Andrew Dalrymple would have thoroughly approved of the Talking Tandems ethos in getting Vision Impaired and Dual Sensory Loss (Deaf/Blind) people involved in cycling who would otherwise have been excluded on account of their disabilities, just as Jock Dalrymple would have been excluded from cycling but for the tandem he was able to ride with his older brother. They were both true kindred spirits!
Although his involvement in competitive cycling did not resume after WWII, Andrew never lost his love of cycling and, in his later years, his family presented him with a model of a tandem bicycle to remind him of his cycling achievements and exploits in his younger days, both competitively with the Fife Century Road Club (which exists to this day) and recreationaly with his younger brother Jock.This model became one of Andrew's most treasured possessions, and so it was fitting that when he passed away in 2009 after a long life well lived, his family presented Talking Tandems with his model tandem which became known as THE ANDREW DALRYMPLE AWARD.
Many thanks to the efforts of Roy Smith for researching and bring to life Aund's brilliant story. Many thanks also to Aund's family for allowing us to share it and for donating the Tandem Trophy which we now present annually as the Andrew Dalrymple Award.
The Andrew Dalrymple Award
Recipients of the Andrew Dalrymple Award to date are as follows:
2010 Janet Brereton
2011 Mike Young
2012 Sandy Wood
2013 Bob McKenzie
2014 Jim Tolson
2015 Ken Mowbray
2016 Roy Smith
2017 John Morris
2018 Marcel O'Connor/Roy Smith
2019 Sandy Wood
2020 Anne Fraser