Leeds & West Yorkshire

Kirkstall Road crash: Tributes paid to cyclist John Harkins

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Media captionJohn Harkins was head coach at a cheerleading squad in Leeds and was part of a team that won bronze for England at an international competition

A cyclist who was killed when a car crashed into shops was a "positive and inspiring" cheerleading coach, his friends have said.

John Harkins, 33, who lived in the Kirkstall area of Leeds, died at the scene on Kirkstall Road on Monday.

A VW Golf crashed into a parade of shops at about 23:30 GMT. The driver, a 22-year-old man, remains in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

About 200 people attended a memorial to Mr Harkins held on Wednesday night.

Martin Wan, who organised the event and is programme director of Aviators Cheer, said Mr Harkins, who was known as Tats and originally from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, was part of a team who won bronze for England at the ICU World Cheerleading Championships last year.

He said: "It's been overwhelming seeing so many people showing their support for Tats and his family and it's been incredibly comforting seeing how much of a positive impact he made to so many people far and wide."

Image copyright David Hopkins
Image caption West Yorkshire Police said a VW Golf crashed into shops damaging two premises and left a cyclist dead

West Yorkshire Police said two men in another vehicle, aged 23 and 36, from Leeds, were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. They have since been released on police bail.

In a statement, Mr Harkins' family described him as a "gentle giant" who had "excelled in everything he set his mind to, from education to sport to being the most fabulous son, brother and uncle a family could wish for".

His family said his death was a "devastating loss".

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