Funeral for motor sport champ

FRIENDS and relatives of a motor sport champion from Suffolk will today pay tribute at his funeral.

FRIENDS and relatives of a motor sport champion from Suffolk will today pay tribute at his funeral.

Donald Morley was born and raised in Hitcham and had a successful sideline career in motor sport despite working full-time on a farm.

Mr Morley, of Hill Road, Combs, won several rally races with his co-driver and twin-brother, Erle, and became a hero to fans of the British Motor Corporation.

Until he had a stroke three years ago, Mr Morley was also the vice chairman of the Eastern Counties Motor Club.

The father-of-two fell ill this year and died on Friday from a brain tumour, aged 75.

His wife, Valerie, was also a rally driver when they met and the couple would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in July.

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Mrs Morley said: “Everyone said what a true gentleman he was and he certainly was a wonderful man.

“He and his brother would turn up to races wearing sports jackets and ties while other drivers would wear dirty jeans. There was a lot of interest in them just because of that.

“It is amazing to see how much interest there has been in him and his brother about the racing recently. He seems to be more popular now than when he did it in the 50s and 60s.

“But of course there was more to him than just his success on the track and he worked tirelessly as a farmer too.

“His father bought the farm in 1924 and Donald helped to build it up over the years. It is now 1,800acres.

“He was a quiet man who doted on his family and we have two sons, Andrew and Roger, and four wonderful grandchildren.”

Stuart Turner, of the British Motor Corporation, said: “I was the team manager during most of the time that Donald and Erle were driving.

“If there was an epitome of the perfect gentleman then Donald would be it. But when he got into a rally car he became a fearsome driver.

“I would describe him as the best Austin Healy driver and he will be sadly missed by many.”

Mr Morley got into racing when he was 22 years old and he won the Felixstowe rally in an Austin A90 Atlantic.

His funeral will be held at All Saints Church, Hitcham, at 2pm today .

Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Morely? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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