Dozens saddle up to thank charity that saved life of Leeds cyclist

Cyclist John Potter and his wife, Andrea.
Cyclist John Potter and his wife, Andrea.
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Dozens of people saddled up for an eight-hour cycling event to thank the charity that saved the life of a well-known Leeds rider.

Nearly 100 fundraisers took part in a team relay event at Dishforth Airfield this month to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

It was organised after cyclist John Potter, from Guiseley, crashed during the final sprint of a race at the North Yorkshire venue and was airlifted to hospital last September.

His wife, Andrea, said: “If it had not been for Yorkshire Air Ambulance stabilizing John at the scene and then getting him to the LGI so quickly, it would have been a very different outcome.

“They saved his life and I cannot thank them enough for what they did that day. Without them I would not have my husband and the children would not have their father.”

Father-of-four Mr Potter suffered a cardiac arrest at the scene after enduring a broken back and neck, two punctured lungs and broken ribs in the collision.

The 53-year-old was stabilised by paramedics and airlifted within minutes to the LGI, where he spent a month recovering before being transferred to Pinderfields Hospital.

Leeds-based cycling group Alba Rosa Club, which Mr Potter helped form, organised the 2,500-mile event which raised more than £3,000 for the charity.

Club member James Sutherland said: “We were all just so shocked that John should have such a serious accident.

“He is so well known and liked in the Leeds cycling community and we really wanted to do something to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

“We thought a few might turn up but, because of who John is, so many people and local companies wanted to help and support the event.”

Organisers say the event could now become an annual race.

Since the crash, Mr Potter has had to re-learn how to talk, walk, eat and dress himself as a result of his spinal injuries.

He is still in hospital but was able to return home and spend Christmas with his family.

Andrea said she hopes he will be discharged at the end of the month, when he will begin a lengthy rehabilitation programme.

She added: “It will be a long road to recovery but John has already made extraordinary progress with the injuries he had.

“The only thing he can’t move very well is his right arm, but we hope that will come back in time. It might never be 100 per cent but he is alive.”

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