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A clubrun crash injures three riders

Monday the 3 January 2011 will linger long in the memory of every club member.

On the day when celebrations to open the club’s new HQ were about to begin, one of the two clubruns that were heading back to Bury St Edmunds for the official opening was dramatically halted when a touch of wheels brought down three riders. It was immediately apparent that this was a major incident, with all three riders injured – two unconscious.

As injured riders and bikes completely blocked the Bury to Saxham road the remaining members of the group began what was to be a most challenging experience. Thankfully Gareth Doman, a club member and paramedic, was with the group and he quickly assessed the situation and relayed his requirements to ambulance control. Some club members stopped traffic while others, under the direction of Gareth, attended the injured riders.


Richard Farrow had sustained shoulder and leg injuries, and was made as comfortable as possible; Ron Fisher was unconscious and bleeding from a head wound, and Peter Stephenson-Wall was unconscious with a head injury. Ron quickly regained consciousness and was immobilised until help arrived, and Gareth, who had divided his time between Ron and Peter, concentrated his efforts on Peter, who was in a serious condition.

It was an immense relief to all concerned to see the lights of the first ambulance arriving on the scene, and also see the familiar face of club member, and paramedic, Darren Fowler sitting inside. Shortly afterwards a second ambulance arrived followed by the air ambulance’s helicopter, which landed on a field next to the group.

Whilst Ron was examined and found to have shoulder and rib injuries as well as the head wound, the main focus of attention was on Peter. Under the instructions of the air ambulance’s doctor, Peter was given emergency aid before being carefully carried by paramedics and club members to the waiting helicopter, and flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Meanwhile, Ron was stretchered into one of the ambulances and taken to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury; and finally it was Richard Farrow’s turn to be carried into the remaining ambulance and taken to the West Suffolk.

It was then left to club members to reopen the road, collect their bikes and ride to the newly opened clubroom. In the hubbub of the post-opening gathering they did their best to greet club mates and answer questions, but their thoughts were elsewhere.

Finally, the club owes a debt of gratitude to Gareth Doman, who when starting out on that morning’s clubrun never dreamt that he would be at the centre of such an emergency operation. Without his coordination and leadership the opening phase of the operation would have been chaotic. Thanks must also go to Darren and the other paramedics, and to the team on the air ambulance, for their expert care and attention. And thanks also to Nathan Colman for collecting the damaged bikes and kit. And lastly thanks to the members of that ill-fated clubrun, who rallied round and helped their friends as best they could.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 16 February 2011 06:51)

About the West Suffolk Wheelers
  • The West Suffolk Wheelers cycling club was formed in 1922 and is based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. We have a good cross-section of cycling on offer to welcome new and experienced cyclists alike. If you wish to learn bike handling skills for on and/or off-road cycling our members have the knowledge and experience to teach you. The Club is proud of it's development work with young people, and we have coaches to guide new cyclists in their training. We are active in all areas of cycling including: Road Racing, Time Trials, Track Racing, Club Runs,Touring, Audax, Sportive, Mountain Biking and Cyclo-cross. Members also compete in triathlon competitions; the Club is recently affiliated to Triathlon England, and new triathlete members are welcomed

    More information about WSW & Tri,contact us and where to find us.