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Husband of Whetstone cyclist killed by lorry in High Barnet speaks of 'indescribable' grief
The husband of a cyclist killed in High Barnet says the pain of losing his beloved wife is indescribable.
Hilary Lee, 66, died almost instantly when she was hit by an industrial dumper truck in High Street at 2.55pm on October 16.
The mother-of-two had been out for a bike ride and was returning to her home in Athenaeum Road, Whetstone, when she was fatally struck at the bend outside St John the Baptist Church.
Her husband Geoff became worried when she failed to return home and began driving around her usual routes in the hope of finding her before it got dark.
But when he called police later that afternoon, officers confirmed the horrifying news that she had been involved in the fatal collision.
The 67-year-old said: “The pain of getting that news is monumental. It is nothing you can ever prepare for or would want to prepare for. I can’t find words to describe what that was like.
“I can’t tell you how much I miss her – it is more than I can possibly express. She was a lovely, vivacious, beautiful person and a devoted wife, mum and nana.”
Moments after the crash, passers-by rushed to try and help the fatally injured Mrs Lee but she was pronounced dead by paramedics when they arrived moments later.
A priest from St John the Baptist Church said a prayer over her body as police cordoned off the scene.
Mr Lee said: “I’ve been made aware that some kind and brave people went to Hilary to do what they could after this terrible event and to those people who I have not met, I want to send my heartfelt thanks.
“The coroner and the police liaison officers have been very supportive but it doesn’t make it any easier.”
A retired but active grandmother-of-three, Mrs Lee was a keen walker, swimmer and bike rider.
She volunteered at numerous organisations, including the Samaritans, the Stroke Association, various talking newspapers for the blind and the Friends of Barnet General Hospital shop.
Her love of theatre and music also led her to volunteer as a steward at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre and at the Cadogan Hall concert venue, off Sloane Square.
In her professional life, Mrs Lee worked for Barnet Social Services where she spent 20 years working with and for adults with learning disabilities.
Prior to that, she worked for the council’s education services, first at Whitings Hill Primary School, in High Barnet, and later at Barnet Countryside Centre, in Byng Road.
Speaking to the Times Series, former firefighter Mr Lee paid tribute to his wife of 42 years and said he has been overwhelmed by the messages of support and condolence from friends and former colleagues.
He said: “She was a wonderful, caring person. She was, without doubt, very special and the quantity and content of all the messages of condolence and support I have received, and that I’m still receiving, bear that out.
“I’m so proud that she touched so many people in such a positive way and I’m unable to express adequately how much she will be missed by me, her grown-up children, her adored grandsons and by her brother and his family and, of course, by her many friends.”
The driver of the lorry, which was owned by building contractors Fitzgerald and Burke, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.
The 45-year-old is due to answer bail on December 17.