His many friends will be saddened to learn that Don Alexander died peacefully in his sleep after a mercifully short illness in the early hours of Tuesday the 9th of October. It was always Don, never Donald, unless he was doing something which did not meet with Marion’s approval. It is difficult to imagine a Vincent Owners Club without Don. He bought his first Vincent in 1959, a Rapide with Garrard sidecar, NAE 805, which was still, as a solo, his Number One machine. He was one of the second generation of Vincent Owners, too young to have bought them new, we were buying them because they were still the best things on the road. The sports chair was soon replaced by a Canterbury Javelin family job to accommodate Ian, Jane and Fiona. As the eldest it is Ian’s proud boast that he was almost born in the Garrard. In the ensuing years many other Vincents have come his way, most of them reliant on his skill as a trained engineer for their survival. There was the 1926 500cc HRD on which he competed in many VMCC runs in the sixties, which he was talking about giving a good check over ready for next year’s Banbury, possibly alongside the 350 which he’d just completed, there was the racer, a chopped twin mated to an Albion box which his son Ian had ridden to good effect, or the Flash, or the’A’. It’s not a cliché to say there are too many to mention because the subject is Don Alexander, not his bikes.
Don Alexander, the enthusiast, recruiting sergeant for Vincents and the VOC. A good friend to many in the club. He shared his enthusiasm liberally, not least in the way after recruitment he helped to build and maintain the machines. He was not adverse to being persuaded to help in the running of the club when the call came, stepping in as Sidecar Organiser in 1960, followed by a stint as Coventry Section Organiser, a long involvement with the Racing Section and finally Chairman of the Spares Company. Despite losing a leg in a road accident on 1979 he was soon back on a Vincent which he had specially adapted to right foot braking. Don was enthusiastic about everything he did but perhaps most of all he enjoyed the Coventry Section’s touring holidays, all the better when they took him to his beloved Scotland.
Despite the time and energy he devoted to his beloved Vincents they were not the only motorcycles in his life. He had an affinity to Wolverhampton marques, not only his early HRDs but also Sunbeams and AJS. Both his splendidly original 1930 R2 1000cc vee twin AJS outfit and his Sunbeam 350 sv Model 1 were familiar sights on Vintage events. In recent years the Ajay was more often seen storming up Sunrising Hill in the Banbury Run fully laden with Ian at the helm and Kathy and the boys on board. He was someone of wide interests such as photography with a classic Leica. He and Marion were in the habit of returning to one of their old motor cycle ports of call in Fort William partly because it was not that far from the ospreys at Dunkeld. Members of the RSPB, bird watching was yet another of their interests and ospreys his favourites.
Never happier than when with friends and family, always interested their activities and achievements, Don will be sadly missed by many including Marion, Ian and Kathy and the boys, Jane and Mark, Fiona and Martin and Ben, Emily and Alex to whom we extend our deepest sympathy. George Spence.
Don touring in Scotland 1990. On NAE 805, with friends, somewhere near Loch Linnhe.