A Ledbury shopkeeper who was one of the great names in British post-war cycling and an Olympic medal-winner has died, aged 83.

Many local people would not have known it, but Ernest Clements was at the very top of the sport in the late 1940s and 50s, winning three British Road Race Championship titles to go with a silver medal at the 1948 London Olympic Games.

He also played a major part in developing the work of one of the great British bike firms, Falcon Cycles, managing it during its golden age from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Nick Yarworth, British Cycling's regional coaching and club development officer, said Mr Clements' name was extremely well-known in the sport and his reputation was that of a man who had devoted his life to cycling.

"Probably, to a lot of people in Ledbury and Malvern, he was a man who had a cycle shop locally but this is a guy who was one of the top riders in the country," he said.

Mr Clements died at Mal-vern Community Hospital on Friday after a six-year battle against Parkinson's Disease.

He opened Clements Cycles in New Street at the age of 67 in 1990, to keep in touch with the sport he had dominated nationally for years.

Before then, Mr Clements, who hailed originally from Shropshire, had played a key role in Falcon Cycles and remained active in organising races involving the company's professional team.

His son, Edward, said of his Olympic achievement: "He was disappointed with the silver medal, because he had a damaged bike."

He was racing against French riders he had beaten in previous encounters.

In 1947, Tour de France organisers offered a professional contract to take part in France's greatest road race. He turned them down, after much heart-searching, because it would have meant the loss of his cherished amateur status in the UK.

David Prentice, of Malvern, dropping a card of condolence off at the shop on Wednesday, said: "Ernie was my hero and he was the top rider in this country for many years. All the cycling magazines would carry photographs of him."

Because of his standing, Mr Clements' wife, Rosemary, and Edward are planning a memorial service at a later date. A private funeral will take place at Malvern Wells, on Monday.