FACT FILE: Beryl Burton

FACT FILE: Beryl Burton

10 things you didn't know about Beryl Burton, the cycling legend who inspired our Autumn Season opener BERYL.

BIRTH: Born Beryl Charnock, she grew up in the suburbs of Leeds where she loyally remained for her whole life.

CHILDHOOD: Beryl suffered with chronic health problems including 15 months spent in hospital. These problems continued throughout her life but she did not let them hold back her cycling achievements. 

ROMANCE: Her life was transformed when introduced to cycling husband Charlie Burton in 1955, who set her wheels spinning in the world of cycling.

CYCLING CHAMP: Beryl Burton won over 90 cycling championships and seven world titles in her career. As well as beating the men's 12-hour time trial record.

INDEPENDENCE: She refused to sign a contract with any companies for her whole career, rejecting every offer despite the financial potential. She believed in remaining thoroughly independent. 

IN THE FAMILY: Beryl, along with her daughter Denise Burton, even set a record for the fastest 10 mile ride on a tandem bike.

INSPIRATION: She once famously said "smile when you lose and laugh like hell when you win"- a lesson we can all learn from!

DEATH: At the age of 58 Beryl died with health issues whilst cycling, delivering invitations for her birthday party. Passing away doing the thing she loved best.

LEGACY: Inducted into the Cycling Hall of Fame, Beryl Burton's name lives on today. She even has a cycle path named after her in Harrogate, and her own memorial garden in Morley, Leeds (pictured above).

NOW: Acclaimed actor and writer Maxine Peake wrote and starred in a radio play about her life called Beryl: A Love Story on Two Wheels. She then adapted it for the stage at West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2014 to rave reviews. Beryl will be performed again this Autumn at the Library Theatre, Bolton Museum- tickets are available here.