Leeds medics take on cycle trek to honour friend

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A team of heart doctors from Leeds are gearing up for a cycling challenge in memory of a colleague who died last year.

The clinicians from Leeds General Infirmary will take part in Ilkley Cycling Club’s White Rose Classic on June 26, inspired by Dr George Ballard.

Dr George Ballard.

Dr George Ballard.

The highly-respected consultant cardiologist died in a cycling accident in North Yorkshire last August.

The event will raise money for Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, which supports the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund at LGI, with consultant cardiologists Fiona Willcoxson, John Thomson, Helen Michael and Dominic Hares, taking part along with chief sonographer Jan Forster.

Dr Michael, a keen cyclist, said she struggled to get back onto her bike following Dr Ballard’s death: “His accident had a profound effect on us all but in addition to losing a friend, and a much-loved and very important colleague, it also affected how many people felt about being outdoors and riding a bike.

“Naturally it was a big shock but it also provoked a kind of aversion to cycling for me.”

She has recently ventured out again and said the bike ride was an opportunity to remember and honour Dr Ballard, as well as raising money for a fantastic cause.

“I am sure George would approve of us all getting together to do this – it would have been just his idea of a good day out and he would have been there with us given half a chance,” she added.

Three routes of different lengths will be tackled by participants, while supporters can enjoy a fun day at Ilkley Rugby Club, where the event will start and finish. Attractions include face painting, food, bouncy castles, crafts and stalls.

* Donate to the fundraising via http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/georgescolleagues