Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 12 June 2003



VETERAN motorcycle enthusiast and retired garage owner Monty Banks, of Capel, who is 82, has been busy of late helping his son Trevor prepare his racing motor bike to take part in a gruelling international event at the Teterow Bergring circuit, in the eastern part of Germany.

But those preparations were tempered with sadness, for last week marked the 25th anniversary of the tragic grass track racing- event which cost the life of Trevor’s elder brother Graham Banks, also well known as a speedway and grass track racer, on June 4, 1978.

Trevor is 48 this year and dubbed a “super veteran” but he will be up there with the best of them in the two-day event in Germany which is over a tough undulating ' circuit with spectacular jumps taken at high speed. Trevor holds the track record.

Monty and his two sons all raced at the German circuit, as well as at many other tracks in the UK and Europe, including our local Rhodes Minnis where, I was interested to hear, there is to be an international grass track meeting' in August this year.

Graham was only 29 when he was involved in an accident while riding his 500cc bike in the final of the Jack Emmett trophy event at Scotts Marsh, Farm, Old Romney.

He fell as he went into the first corner
and was hit by at least one other machine, suffering crippling injuries. The race was stopped as horrified marshals rushed on to the track to give emergency aid, joined by St John Ambulance members.

Graham was raced to Ashford hospital and later transferred to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital where he was treated for chest injuries, but he died.

Later, at the inquest, it was revealed that Graham’s injuries had included a broken back which would have left him paralysed had he survived.

Among those treating him at the track-side was his sister. Christine, a nursing sister was on holiday with her family at Capel when the two brothers decided to ride at the Marsh race meeting, and had been at the track with parents Monty and Joan Banks, when Graham came off his bike.

Fateful decision
Brother Trevor had been taking part in the same race but was ahead of Graham at the time and didn’t see what happened.

He later took second place in the re-run event.

For Graham that week it had been a return to racing after a three-week lay-off because of an arm injury. The previous evening he had been racing with the Canterbury Crusaders speedway squad.

Monty Banks himself had to retire from racing after serious injury, but not before
chalking up a host of successes across Europe, as did Graham, and later Trevor.

Tragically both brothers had only decided to enter the fateful meeting at the last minute.

In both cases it was to test machines, rather than secure more ‘silverware.’

After the accident Monty Banks spoke of the dangers of the sport. “It was just a terrible tragedy,” he said.

“Graham was an international rider. He doesn’t go into a corner and just fall off. He could have been touched by one of the other riders and then got ploughed into.

“I couldn’t see what happened from where I was.” Monty’s reaction at the time was that there were two many riders taking part in the race - there were 16 - but this was not unusual in this type of event.
BELOW: One-time Councillor J Jones ran his Folkestone Daily News paper from this furniture shop which was at 5 Grace Hill from 1896 until 1913. The newspaper featured recently in “Memories.” The photo of the shop, now an Internet cafe, was shown to me by local historian Alan Taylor, of Folkestone & District Local History Society, just returned from tasting the attractions of a cruise to Scandinavia from Dover on the Norwegian Dream cruise liner.
Ironically Graham’s previous injury was sustained at a Canterbury Crusaders race meeting, when he had crashed his machine rather than run into a fellow rider.

Southern Television personality and speedway racing writer Malcolm Mitchell, once a local journalist, attended the funeral at St John’s Church, Folkestone and paid a special tribute to Graham.

Other tributes came from all over Europe and as far afield as South Africa, many praising Graham’s high standard of riding-and particularly his sportsmanship.

Before the journey to Germany for this year’s race meeting the family took flowers to the garden of remembrance, to honour Graham’s memory.

•The snapshot above is of Graham wearing winner’s laurels after a race success.
Fateful day

Firemen chalk up wins in South Eastern tournament

*1 QAQ FOLKESTONE firemen were top dogs JL7Uwand posed for a souvenir photo after winning the "Steamer Turn-out Drill and Manual Engine Pumping Drill/' in the South Eastern District Fire Brigade's 1906 Tournament with their Shand, Mason & Co steam fire engine built in 1896. Pictured were. FD Mackenzie (secretary), Supt AE Nichols, sub-engineer W Woods, 1st engineer L Brooks, 2nd engineer F Kingsmill, sub engineers A Der Vere, G Sellis and S Pick, firemen W Dixon, A Woods, J Simons, S Chittenden, W Foreman, F Tunbridge and F Fakley. The picture was accompanied by a reporter's impressions of a thorough inspection of the Dover Road base of the Folkestone Fire Brigade covering nearly two columns of the paper. Superintendent Nichols was credited with adapting equipment to harness mains water pressure in fighting fires. One of the first, if not the first; football photograph was also published by the Herald, showing the undefeated Excelsior team after defeating Faversham 5 goals to nil. In the team were J-T Smith (goal), Cocks, Finn, Harrison, Wonfor and Saunders, H. Hall, E. Hall, Tribe, Champion and Craker.

Comedian Arthur Askey entertains at conference

m Q CO FOUR police officers, including two JL99*3Scotland Yard Special Branch Officers struggled to restrain a young man with three suitcases who they were trying to arrest aboard the steamer Cote a'Azur just before it sailed for France from Folkestone. He was due to face charges for breach of a court order and was given a Metropolitan Police escort aboard a train back to London. Alderman Gordon Paine MBE, mayor of Lydd for the 22nd successive year was presented with a silver salver to mark his long public service. At New Romney Aldorman John Wiles was elected mayor for the eighth year in a row. World famous comedian Arthur Askay wis among carbaret artistes at the annual conference dinner of the Building Industries Distributors Association. Alderman Mrs L.E. Farmer, the only woman on a list of Hythe mayors going back to 1349, was chosen mayor for the second year in succession. Flight Lieutenant Anthony Melvin Young, 30, of Barrack Hill, Hythe was due to fly a Meteor jet aircraft in a Royal Air Force : salute to the Queen on her return to Buckingham Palace after the Coronation, involving a fly-past by 168 jet fighters. 144 Meteors and 24 Sabres of the RCAF
Roils driver escapes with life in 70ft cliff plunge

’’I QOQ A KENSAL Green driver Mr H.G. Saxby J.7*>Ohad a lucky escape when his Rolls Royce coupe plunged 70ft down the cliff from the Road of Remembrance. There was a photo of the car and also of a Chrysler 72 saloon which arrived in Folkestone after a remarkable journey by road from Cape Town to Cairo and on to England en route to London. Tho Town Council decided to honour one of its successful sons by making him a Freeman of the town. He was Sir William Hall-Jones, born in Folkestone, who had a distinguished career in New Zealand. Sir William became a member of the NZ parliament in 1890 and was now in the Upper House. The voting was unanimous. The pilot of a mystery aircraft performed some skilful but extremely low altitude acrobatics over homes in the centre of Folkestone giving cause for concern among young and old. The Herald investigated and discovered the aircraft was not one belonging to the 25th Squadron RAF stationed at Hawkinge air base. The powerful machine: was not of tne type flown from there and the Herald warned of tne penalties that could be imposed by the courts if the flier could be identified.
Sand dunes danger alert-after bulldozers clean up

f Q*7Q BULLDOZING 0f sand dunes at I OGreatstone led to fears of serious injuries to children from long hidden barbed wire and this sparked a protest from parents. There was also a fear that steep banks of fine sand could be another hazard to youngsters. The landlord of the Star Inn, Newington, finally called time and stopped serving refreshments as the property was handed over to the Department of the Environment prior to the building of M20 link roads which meant closure of the pub. A veteran writer, Mrs Muriel Johns was recalling the care provided for the poor in Folkestone a century ago by her father George Peden who ran a soup kitchen in the old Black Bull Road school. For a halfpenny (less than 1 p) children were fed with a meat and vegetable stew and bread, followed by bread and jam or an orange. In addition the one-time councillor ran a boot club, parents paying a little each week with George adding a generous contribution to supply children with footwear. His philanthropic work was marked by the town in various ways including a public fountain and bronze memorial plaque, and his portrait was hung in the town's council chamber.

If anyone should have any a better picture than any on this page, or think I should add one they have, please email me at the following address:-