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Tributes paid to Ernie Cambridge, who has died aged 72
TRIBUTES have been paid to a York sporting legend who has died at the age of 72.
Ernest Frank Cambridge, or Ernie, as he was affectionately known, died on February 20 after suffering with cancer for nine months.
Mr Cambridge was well-known in the world of road race walking – with his best period being from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, when he amassed more than 50 trophies both as an independent competitor and a member of a local team.
He was born in 1940 in Aldershot, but his family was evacuated to Murton, near York, during the war. He lived in York for the rest of his life.
Mr Cambridge worked as a bricklayer’s labourer for most of his life. His speed at carrying a full hod of bricks up the scaffold earned him the nickname “Ernie, the fastest hodman in the West” – after the Benny Hill hit song, “Ernie, the fastest milkman in the West” – when he worked for Watsons Builders for 18 years.
Because bricklaying was seasonal he also worked during the winter months for York Glassworks and the city’s sugar beet factory.
His first big sporting achievement was in 1970, when he won a coal-carrying contest at Carr School, followed soon after by winning a road-walking race at the Britannia Inn in Acomb.
He then teamed up with friends to form the Thunderbirds team representing the Clarence Club, which won many road walking competitions.
In later years he entered the London Marathon, and also took part in the New York Marathon, when he raised £1,500 to help with the founding of the Woodlands MS Centre in Hull Road.
During his retirement Mr Cambridge enjoyed the more leisurely sport of snooker, playing for New York WMC, and entered local fishing competitions. His funeral will take place at York Crematorium on Monday, and will be followed by a wake at Shipton Road Sports Club.