Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009

Tributes paid to charity cyclist

John Lyons
John Lyons was on his third cycle challenge in aid of Jersey Hospice

Tributes have been paid to a man from Jersey who died while taking part in a charity cycle trip in South America.

Experienced cyclist John Lyons, 60, was killed when he was hit by a small truck in Ecuador on Sunday.

He was taking part in the Bedell Group Ecuador Cycle Challenge in aid of Jersey Hospice Care.

Dr Gari Purcell-Jones, from the charity, said Mr Lyons was a kind and charming man who was full of fun and worked tirelessly for charity.

He really did bring light into the lives of everybody he met
Dr Gari Purcell-Jones

He died on his way to hospital after the crash, which happened on the outskirts of coastal town Esmeraldas at 0930 local time (1430 GMT).

The group of 60 cyclists were on their last day of the week-long fund-raising challenge, they were just 50km from the finish when the crash took place.

Mr Lyons, originally from Ireland, was a theatre assistant at Jersey General Hospital.

"He was a kind, charming Irishman, larger than life, incredibly witty and full of fun with a twinkle in his eye," said Dr Purcell-Jones, who had known Mr Lyons for 20 years.

"He really did bring light into the lives of everybody he met.

"He was an incredible man, he's much loved and we're all going to miss him deeply."

Map of Ecuador

Mr Lyons had already taken part in similar cycle challenges in Vietnam and Peru to raise money for Jersey Hospice Care.

The charity said it was deeply saddened and shocked by his death.

The team doctor, Helen Mansfield, was also injured and was said to be in a stable condition in hospital.

She is being treated for head injuries in the country's capital, Quito.

The charity trip was run by Discover Adventure Limited.

Robert Fielding, from the company, said the incident could not have been prevented.

"It was a road traffic accident, they happen anywhere in the world at any time," he said.

"It wasn't any sort of negligence in how the trip was set up."

Mr Fielding said he expects to receive a report into the crash from Ecuador police in the next 24 hours.

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