Pete Sole, My Favourite Ancestor

By Jack Sole

This article was published in the December 2019 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

Ed: this article is by new member Jack Sole and is part of our ‘occasional’ series of articles about members’ favorite ancestors. Slight poetic license since, as a great uncle he isn’t actually a direct ancestor! If you have a favorite ancestor, please consider writing an article – remember, if I don’t get articles, I can’t put a journal together.
Pete was born in 1942 in Wallingford, Berkshire. His father was a farm labourer and his mother looked after Pete and 10 siblings. The family regularly moved house to be where the best work was, and by Pete’s late teens were at Nythe Farm Cottages. Leaving school at 15, Pete worked at a variety of places, including at a brick yard and later at the gravel pits at South Cerney, Gloucestershire, from where he drove lorry loads of gravel to building sites. Later still he worked for the old Gas Board, making excavations. His younger brother Mike also worked for the old Gas Board too. Pete retired in 1994 as a trench inspector after 30 years, and was credited with inventing a heating device that kept tar in useable condition overnight.
His happy marriage to Maureen produced two children – Marie in 1969 and Michael in 1972.
In his spare time, Pete was a fan of motorcycles from boyhood, and restored a large number of machines. When he died he, he was president of the local Moonraker division of the Vintage Motorcycle Club and his restoration work brought not just trophies but frequent articles about him in vintage motorbike magazines. He rode throughout Britain, including to the Isle of Man and also went to motorcycle gatherings as far afield as France and Italy.
Pete was equally respected in fishing circles, winning hundreds of competitions and founding Swindon Talisman Fishing Club, which is named after one of his favourite bikes, the Excelsior Talisman. He was also a partner in a Manchester Road fishing shop for several years. Pete then ran a fishing supplies business from home and invented a machine to separate maggots from discarded pupae. Another invention was known as the Sole Box – an aluminum storage tray for fishing supplies that could be attached to a river bank by an angler. Many were sold.
Pete died peacefully at the aged 67 at home

Pete Sole with one of his bikes
Pete Sole, with one of his bikes