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"I feel cheated of life" - Injured cyclists knocked from bikes were training for charity ride

By Marion Brennan | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Two cyclists who were badly injured in a hit-and-run crash in Wolverhampton have spoken of their ordeal which came at the end of a 20-mile training ride for a charity event, it has been revealed.

Gaynor Woods and Rupert Hannibal and right, the damaged bikes after the crash. Pictures: @Wton_fire

Gaynor Woods and Rupert Hannibal were both knocked from their bikes near New Cross Hospital earlier this month.

School manager Mr Hannibal suffered a broken leg while his partner Ms Woods, 48, is still in hospital with multiple fractures and is unlikely to be able to walk for several months, possibly a year.

She told the Express & Star from her hospital bed: “I feel cheated of life.”

The pair were training for a bike ride and 10K run to raise funds for the charity Widowed & Young (WAY) at the time of the crash, and just yards from their destination when they were mown down.

Ms Woods, originally from Pattingham, had travelled up from her home in Mold, in Wales, to visit her father in New Cross Hospital before going on the cycle ride with Mr Hannibal, 50, from Langley, Oldbury.

She said: “We’d parked at Bentley Bridge and were going to have something to eat at Bella Italia before going home. We were literally two minutes from the car after a really lovely ride around Codsall and Coven when it happened.”

The damage in the aftermath of the collision

Ms Woods was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham following the collision on May 2. She suffered breaks in both femurs, a hip, ankle, wrist, knee, shin, as well as torn ligaments and nerve damage to her feet.

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Both bikes were completely destroyed in the collision, which saw a car end up on its side on the pavement. Officers are still trying to trace the driver of the red Ford Fiesta, who was nowhere to be seen when emergency services arrived.

The couple met through the WAY charity, a support group for people widowed young, and had been due to take part in the Great Manchester Run this weekend, to raise funds for the organisation, for which she is a volunteer area co-ordinator.

Mr Hannibal, a pastoral manager at Leasowes High School in Halesowen, is now appealing to people to donate to Ms Woods’ Just Giving page, despite her not being able to take part in the event.

He said: “Gaynor has done an amazing job setting up meet-ups, encouraging friendships and supporting other widows.

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“We both have experienced wonderful support from WAY and made some special friends during the bleakest and most confusing of times, times that most of us never expect to experience. As a magical bonus, we met and found a special love.

“Although she won’t now be able to run the 10K, or take part in the cycle challenge, it would be wonderful to carry on with the fundraising and help her feel that she continues to make a difference. She is truly inspirational.” Ms Woods’ Just Giving page can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gaynor-wood5

West Midlands Police launched an appeal to track down the driver following the collision. Sgt Mark Bull, of the traffic unit, said at the time: “We have a number of active lines of inquiry and would urge the driver to do the right thing and come forward.”

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan
@Marion_EStar

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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