Suffolk

Leonard Finch: 'Inspirational' cyclist, 86, dies in crash

Leonard Finch Image copyright Suffolk Police
Image caption Leonard Finch, who was known as Len, was still racing his bike aged into his 80s

A founding member of a cycle club who kept racing his bike aged into his 80s has died in a crash.

Leonard Finch was killed when he was involved in a collision while out on his bike at Great Waldingfield, Suffolk, on Thursday.

The 86-year-old was one of the "skid kids" who competed in cycle speedway on World War Two bomb sites and he helped set up Cycle Club Sudbury.

His family said he was "truly one of the greats".

Suffolk Police said officers were called just before 15:00 BST to reports that a cyclist might have collided with a stationary lorry in Lavenham Road. Mr Finch died at the scene.

In a statement, Mr Finch's family said: "Len was always a great help and inspiration to all of us.

"He was always cheerful and friendly and would do anything for anyone - provided it was to do with cycling."

Image copyright Emma Ailes
Image caption Mr Finch spent more than 70 years in the saddle
Image copyright Len Finch
Image caption He was still breaking records aged in his 80s

Mr Finch, who was known as Len, grew up in wartime Walthamstow, north-east London, and started cycle speedway racing at the age of 16 in 1946.

Together with his friends, he formed the Walthamstow Wolves.

While the heyday of cycle speedway was short-lived, Mr Finch's passion for cycling remained.

His family said he "lived for his cycling" and was still breaking records into his 80s.

Image copyright Len Finch
Image caption Mr Finch, standing on the far left of the picture, with his Walthamstow Wolves team-mates in 1950

Mr Finch, of Chilton, near Sudbury, was still an honorary member of CC Sudbury, and tributes were paid on the club's Facebook page.

Police have asked anyone who was travelling along the B1071 between Lavenham and Sudbury, from 14:30 to 15:00, and who has dashcam footage to come forward.

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