Wife pays tribute to cyclist who dies moments after taking last-ever selfie in Lake District village
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A cyclist tragically died just moments after he took a selfie near an idyllic spot in his village in the Lake District last November. Described as a ‘superfit’, Neil Pollard, 56, was riding his bike and took a photo of himself in front of wind turbines when he started to feel ‘wobbly’.
He then asked his wife Tracy, 56, to pick him up and bring him some chocolate but when she arrived at the scene 12 minutes later, she found him collapsed on the floor. A man was giving him CPR and used a defibrillator from the village hall to try to save his life.
Medics and an air ambulance were also called to the scene but he was sadly pronounced dead around an hour later. A post mortem concluded he died of an acute cardiac arrest due to a blood clot.
Speaking for the first time since his death, Tracy - his wife of 34 years - revealed the family had raised enough money to fund two defibrillators in his memory. Paying tribute to her late childhood sweetheart - who she met when she was just 16 - she said he was her ‘best friend’ and he would ‘do anything to help anyone’.
Tracy said: “Neil was an incredibly intelligent, kind, patient and funny man. He lived his whole life in the technological world and was an early adopter of every new gadget.
“He would do anything to help anyone and was an amazing dad to our two sons, Joshua and Samuel whom he adored as they did him. He was my best friend, partner in crime and my everything husband for 34 years.”
Tracy said Neil loved being outdoors, particularly walking and cycling. The pair had moved into their ‘dream home’ in Kendal, Cumbria, in July 2022 and enjoyed exploring their new area. She said the pair would normally go on bike rides together but Neil went alone on this occasion while Tracy attended a Remembrance Day service in the village.
Recalling the day, she said: "As it was a beautiful day, he decided to go out on his bike, something which we normally did together, but I was celebrating Remembrance Day at a service so wasn’t with him.
"When I was on my way back, I phoned him and we spoke briefly. He was having an amazing morning and had gone to the wind turbines close to us which he had wanted to see.
"I was in the house a little later when he called to say he was feeling a little wobbly and would I pick him up. He dropped me a pin on the map and asked me to bring him some chocolate and his car with the bike carrier on."
"Unfortunately, despite everyone’s best efforts, Neil could not be saved. A post-mortem showed he had suffered an acute cardiac arrest due to a blood clot. We were totally unaware that he had any health issues at all, he had never smoked or drank and hadn’t eaten meat for the last 10 years.
"He exercised regularly and was always the first one up a hill on a steep bike ride.” After his death, Tracy set up a JustGiving page to raise money for a defibrillator and for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, which covers the region.
The family raised £9,200 which meant they purchased two defibrillators for the local area and also donated £5,200 to the ambulance service. This week his family met the paramedics who tried to save his life at the Great North Air Ambulance Service base in Eaglescliffe, near Stockton.