Sunday, 16 December 2007

Noel Cringle - President of Tynwald, Manx Harriers and so much more...

Noel Cringle is 70 today. Not only is Mr Cringle President of Tynwald (the Manx Parliament) but he has also been President of Manx Harriers since their formation in 1991 (when Manx AC merged his club Boundary Harriers). He has competed in the Parish Walk at least 19 times and, as the photo shows, also used to compete in the cross country leagues – always in his ordinary white shirt!

I believe (although I have not researched this) that Noel took part in the early race walking events staged in the Isle of Man in the early 1960s as a member of Malew Beagles. I wouldn’t be surprised if he also ran cross country as most of the athletes were all rounders in those days.

It was when younger son Mark started competing in the English Schools Walks and for Boundary Harriers that Noel returned to the fray.

His Parish Walk career was revived in 1979 and this is his record since then:

German 1979 07:45:00
Michael 1980 08:02:00
Michael 1981 08:06:00
German 1982 06:34:01
Rushen 1983 03:46:00
German 1993 07:18:04
St Johns 1994 07:00:51
German 1995 07:00:13
Rushen 1996 03:50:00
German 1998 07:20:45
German 1999 07:08:56
German 2000 07:28:56
German 2001 07:57:58
German 2002 07:26:53
German 2003 07:38:32
German 2004 07:49:40
Rushen 2006 04:14:00
Rushen 2007 04:19:44

The photo was taken at a round of the cross country at Tromode in October 1979.
Noel was elected to the House of Keys at a bye election in 1974, retained his seat at the general election in 1976. After serving as the equivalent as Minister for Home Affairs he lost his seat in the following general election five years later.
In one of the greatest comebacks in Manx political history, he regained his seat in 1981 and in the past 26 years he has served as Minister for Education and Speaker of the House of Keys before being elected as President of Tynwald.
It was during the early part of this period that he contributed massively with his vision of a year of a sport which he initiated and Geoff Corlett delivered. The start of the Island Games owed everything to this vision.
Although I have added to this original post, as always with my writing, I am not trying to deliver the full history of any of the subjects, only to provide an interesting read and possibly start a discussion. Thanks to Ady Cowin for starting the feedback.

I’ve known Noel for the best part of 30 years but only once I have spent the whole day in his company – and what a hectic day it was. The 13th Morecambe 20 Walk on 13 September 1980 was bound to be unlucky and so it proved to be. A team was booked to travel on the early morning Manxline ferry to Heysham but at 7 am we learnt that (true to form) it was to be delayed for several hours.

Noel took over the role of team manager and arranged for us to travel on the Steam Packet sailing to Liverpool and he hired a car in Liverpool. The schedule was very tight and we knew that it was not certain we would make the start. I think this was a while before Nigel Mansell came to live on the Island but I don’t think that the Formula 1 World Champion could have made he journey much faster! To this day, whenever I travel between Lancaster and the M6 I recall Noel’s driving – just “slightly” over the 40 mph limit.

In those days there used to be two newspaper groups and I wrote the report for one in which it was stated that we arrived in Morecambe just 30 minutes before the start. The other writer was more dramatic and reported it as 10! Still, it was a successful day. I won the individual event and with future Parish Walk winner Willile Corkill, Harry Holmes and Mark Cringle we won the team award. Better still, 16 year old Mark won the novice award. But then we faced another “seat of our pants” drive back to Liverpool and a rough crossing. I intended to drink to my success but after a sip of my beer I had to lie down to avoid seasickness.

We can’t raise a beer glass to Noel either as he is strictly tea total. We can, however, thank Noel for all the good he has done in our community in his first 70 years and wish him a long and prosperous life. The omens are good as his Mother is well past her century already.


Ady Cowin said...

Good story. Thanks Murray. Any more gems about Noel the athlete & driver? I 'work' with Noel & his son Murray as part of Laa Columb Killey, & with Murray on Arbory Commissioners. (Noel won the Sam Parry Cup, Parishioners 100m, at LCK in 1963 & 1965.) They are great guys to be with & they help / encourage me so much. Noel has given great support to many athletic events over the years, including the End to End Walk & other IOMVAC events. I seem to remember some association with Southern AC as well. Murray Cringle is a great supporter of rugby & was himself a great forward (Vagas?) -- his son Phil is a great schoolboy player at CRHS & will be part of the team touring Australia in 2009. When there I'm sure that his uncle Mark (in New Zealand) will come to support the team.
Noel still has great fitness, probably from his hard work on the farm, he certainly lifts & moves LCK Tea Tent benches quicker than me! I'm sure that we will see him very active for years to come yet, including in the Parish Walk & still wearing that white shirt!
Happy birthday yessir, & have a Happy Noel!

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