Friday, 15 June 2007

Day 6 - Sad loss - Wentnor to Acton Bridge

How to describe today? There was the cycling and the weather and the usual challenges that I have been describing. But to start with such parts would be trite. There is no way of avoiding this subject. Today we experienced a tragedy in our journey, which puts all other thoughts in perspective.

As I cycled down the first major hill of the day, I came across bikes scattered across the road and people dealing with an emergency from the side of the track. As well as cyclist from our group, people from a local cottage had come to help. Arriving late on this scene, it was initially difficult to grasp the true picture and I was reassured to discover that amongst our group there were two doctors, a paramedic and a nurse involved in helping Stuart.

With medical help on-hand, there was little I could add except to clear the road of bikes and obstacles, to help ensure there was no further problems from oncoming traffic. We left and carried on cycling, stopping to watch an ambulance find its way through the country lanes and watch an air ambulance arriving.

Not sure of what we should do next, we just kept cycling, all with our own thoughts. I wasn’t even sure what had caused the problem, and not many others could add any information. We all had our own ideas, goals and drives to take up the 1000 miles challenge, and we all seemed to know that the journey goes on, just more subdued than previously.

When we reached the campsite that afternoon, we found that Stuart had died from a massive heart attack. He had been air-lifted to hospital but pronounced dead on arrival. I hadn’t known Stuart long, nor had much interaction with him on the journey, but being part of this group, no … this team, leaves an impact on everyone. I found the Daily Record later in the week and it described Stuart as someone who was regularly involved in raising money for charity. He was sponsored on Lejog to raise money for the Scottish children’s hospice charity (CHAS). He died doing what he loved best – helping other people less fortunate than himself. What finer epitaph is there.

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