Berry planning book on Billy's life

IPSWICH Witches speedway legend Billy Sanders took his own life in April 1985, more than 23 years ago. His death shocked the speedway world and since then there has been plenty of talk both in England and his native Australia about putting together a book detailing the story of his life.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Witches speedway legend Billy Sanders took his own life in April 1985, more than 23 years ago.

His death shocked the speedway world and since then there has been plenty of talk both in England and his native Australia about putting together a book detailing the story of his life.

Nobody took the plunge but now, retired ex-Ipswich Speedway boss John Berry, who was running Ipswich during Sanders' time at Foxhall Stadium, has decided to put things right.


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But he would like some help.

“Memories are no longer too painful,” said Berry, who is now based in Perth, Western Australia.

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Many people on both sides of the world, especially Sanders' two sisters in Sydney, have encouraged Berry to undertake the project.

Berry understands there is bound to still be some angst surrounding the Australian star's death, and his first wish was to speak with Billy's wife of the time, Judy.

The former Mrs Sanders no longer lives in New South Wales and dropped out of the speedway scene many years ago. So far Berry's efforts to locate her have drawn a blank.

Berry is confident he will be able to trace her and is hopeful she will wish to help in ensuring the book is as complete and accurate as possible.

But he would love to hear from anyone in the Ipswich area who might still be in touch with her.

“Obviously Judy played an important part in Billy's life and I am hoping I can find her in time to be able to include memories of the good times they shared,” said Berry.

“Things were bitter at the end but these things happen and surely we would all like to think the good memories have outlived the bad after all this time.”

Because of the close involvement between them, Berry is concerned the book should not simply be about the relationship between himself and Sanders and is determined to seek advice and opinions from people who played a part in the Aussie rider's short life.

“I will be chasing all of those people who I think can add to the picture but it is difficult to ensure I miss nobody,” he added. “So if anyone out there has a story or a point of view about Billy they feel deserves a mention I would be delighted to hear from them.”

Berry is currently working flat out on the book and is hoping it will be ready for release in October.

Already the author of a couple of highly successful speedway books, Berry can be contacted on jberry@amnet. net.au or write to Elvin King sports department, Evening Star, 30, Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN and letters will be passed on.

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