Norman Crooks BEM

Norman Crooks BEM Known to everyone in the local motorcycle fraternity as ‘Daddy Crooks’, Norman Crooks BEM sadly passed away following a short illness on the Thursday of last week. The popular race secretary of the local Cookstown and District Motor Cycle Club became known as ‘Daddy Crooks’ by his popularity and his willingness to help everyone. Following the shocking news of his passing, such as was Norman's popularity, social media was indaunted with Tributes from far and near. Cookstown & District MCC Chairman John Dillon; “It is with deep sorrow and devastation as chairman of the Cookstown Club I inform everyone of the passing this afternoon of our highly thought of Race Secretary and friend Norman Crooks BEM. Norman has been the heart and soul of the club for over 50 years, dedicating endless hours of service and becoming friends with so many people over the years. His knowledge and love for the sport and the Cookstown 100 races may never be matched again!! Our thanks for everything you have done over the years, 'Daddy Crooks'; you will always have a special place within this Club. On a personal note, you became such a big part of my life, with never a day going past without us being in touch(maybe 5/6 times a day ); you, my friend, will be sorely missed! I'm gutted. To Betty, Brian & Phillip and the entire family, I send our deepest condolences and heartfelt thoughts to you all! Never to be forgotten by us all @ CDMCC. Not only did Norman give his 100% efforts and time to the Cookstown Club, but he was also on hand to help and advise others, including the Enniskillen MCC, where their race secretary, Fiona Ferris, who described Norman as her ‘Wingman’, had this to say “We would like to express our condolences to the Crooks family on the passing of Norman Crooks BEM. Thinking also of all at the Cookstown 100 Motorcycle Club who has suffered a great loss. On a personal note, struggling for words right now to describe how devastated we are. It's safe to say that our club would not exist without Norman, who, over the years since we were formed, has been there every step of the way, sharing every bit of his race knowledge & advice, and no matter what, has always had our back. A friend and companion. RIP Till we meet again, Keep er Lit.” Manx competitor, Barry Wood, spoke of the first time he met Norman,” I met this gentleman sitting on the hedge at Bedstead watching the TT. He encouraged me to enter Cookstown myself the following year, so I did; he was always encouraging riders to race at Cookstown. Sorry to hear this news.” Paul Swords wasn’t having a good time during practices at Cookstown one year; “Sad news to hear, to me, Norman stood out as someone who was welcoming, obliging and indifferent with a calm manner. In my last race at Cookstown100, I nearly walked, but he made sure I lined up. A big loss to road racing and a big shoe size to fill, my condolences Sir.” Newcomer in 2020, Paul Daley; “ Norman was so wonderful at helping me with my two entries for Cookstown and made me laugh so much on the phone and in the office. His advice before my first trip over. "Aye, it's not a bad circuit to learn. Just keep turning right, except for the left". A gentleman, RIP my Friend.” A long-time supporter of the Cookstown 100, Dave Brough;” So sorry to hear this sad news upsetting, I've known Norman for over 30 years, and he was always so friendly and helpful, not only to myself but to all competitors, will miss him and his phone call in the new year asking if I was for coming over my condolences to all the family and to everyone involved with the Cookstown club RIP Norman.” Popular visitor James William Rothery spoke of his friendship;” Norman made me so welcome at my first road race and was to be one if not the main reason I love Cookstown so much it was an honour to know you and call you a friend you will be so missed but never forgotten your phone calls were such good crack Rest in Peace, my friend.” Norman Crooks BEM, a former Bread salesman, was probably the longest-serving member of the Cookstown & District MCC. It was back in 1968 when the young motorcycle enthusiast first joined his local motorcycle club; little did he realise that come this year when the club celebrated their Centenary year, he would still be involved in the same club! Certainly, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since he first joined up, but to remain an active member for 55 years is an amazing achievement by anyone's standards. In 2020, Norman, or ‘Daddy Crooks’ as he was known to everyone, was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday List; the father figure to many younger clubs and riders was awarded the B.E.M. (British Empire Medal). Unfortunately, due to the Pandemic situation at that time, Norman could not partake in the normal presentation services but was happy to have received this prestigious honour. One of the most popular faces of the Irish road race paddock scene, he first served as assistant race secretary in 1978 before being promoted to race secretary in 1979; despite stepping down from this position in 2012, he was somewhat persuaded to return for another year, and for some reason, never seemed to be able to retire from his position within the club, in fact, at the recent AGM, only a few weeks ago, Norman was elected as race secretary for 2023, a job he fully agreed to take on again! Preferring to work away in the background in his own way, Norman admitted the months before the race can be hectic, Norman was always very well organized, and by mid-December, Competitors would receive their entries for the following year's race! Over the years, Norman built up a great repertoire with riders and knew them each on a personal basis. Norman travelled the length and breadth of Ireland and further afield following the sport he loved. Last year, before the Centenary meeting, we were having a wee chat, and I asked Norman, did he not ‘tire’ at this job; his reply was simple, “It's a great wee club, and it’s being part of a great club that gets me up in the morning” quipped Norman, as he answered yet another phone call from a competitor making enquiries about the 2022 Centenary event! , adding in, “I never thought that when I joined the club back in 1968, I would still be an active member in its Centenary Year!” The Cookstown and District MCC is a small tight, knitted wee club, and this has just gotten smaller. The race office will never be the same again, always maintained to the highest of standards, impeccable, tidy, and everything placed in their order; Norman set a very high standard for his work. There's no doubt this ‘Father figure will be missed big time. However, those suffering the biggest loss are his wife and sons, a great family man; on behalf of everyone in the Cookstown & District Motor Cycle Club, , I offer my Condolences to his wife, Betty, and sons, Brian and Philip, along with the whole family circle. Rest In Peace, Norman; you were one in a million.


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