Tribute after death of cyclist
A former competitive cyclist who had restarted exercise to improve his health died after he rode to collect the Sunday papers.
David Oliffe, 76, collapsed of a suspected heart attack as he cycled through Hindhead Close, Southgate, at 8.25am on Sunday (February 24).
Paramedics tried to resuscitate him and he was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton with a serious head injury but died later that morning.
Relatives paid tribute to a supportive and focussed man.
Son Ian, who lives in Leicester, said: “As a man he was very focused, with strong direction and a very supportive father.He was the type of man that let us lead our own lives when we might have been slightly off track. He wouldn’t interfere.”
After developing heart problems and diabetes Ian’s father resolved to change the habits of a lifetime.
Ian said: “He made the most of all his time all the time. He was forever doing things. He gave up smoking, he started cycling again, his eating became very healthy. He was a very headstrong man. If he set his mind to something he would do it to his best.”
Mr Oliffe was born in Purley, married wife Phyllis in 1961 and moved to Crawley after the wedding. They had three children, daughter Anne, 50, and twin sons Ian and Richard, 48. They have six grandchildren.
As a young man Mr Oliffe was a keen cyclist who competed at county level in sprints, road races and track events. With family life his cycling became less regular but he became timekeeper at Crawley Athletics Club where his sons competed as youngsters and stayed on after they left to help with paperwork.
He spent most of his career as an electrical engineer working for Philips and lectured at Central Sussex College Crawley for three years after being made redundant.
A funeral is planned for March 19.
He rekindled his love affair with cycling and did up his old racing bike after developing heart problems and diabetes.
Two land ambulances, a car and an air ambulance were dispatched to help Mr Oliffe. Police are seeking witnesses to establish the exact circumstances of the fall but are not treating it as suspicious.
Anyone who saw what happened is asked to call police on 101 quoting Operation Bankshill, or email ‘firstname.lastname@example.org
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Weather for Crawley
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 6 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North