PICTURES: Hundreds of cyclists turn out for Junior Heffernan memorial bike ride
HUNDREDS of cyclists set off on a very special bike ride today in memory of a talented sportsman.
Friends and colleagues of Junior Heffernan embarked on the tribute cycle and raised charity cash in his name.
The 23-year-old, from Yelverton, died on March 3 when his bike collided head on with a car during the 41st annual Severn Bridge Road Race in Gloucestershire.
An accomplished triathlete, swimmer and cyclist, he had been tipped as a rising star and had begun racing for a team – Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes.com – for his skills as a "climber".
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Robin Brew, director of swimming at Kelly College, Tavistock – where Junior attended and had been a member of the swimming squad – said he was "a young man with an extraordinary gift and capacity for hard work."
In response to the many lives Junior touched and influenced, more than a hundred people signed up online to the memorial ride within 24 hours.
But there were around 300 who turned up on the day.
The event was organised by Junior's friend and former triathlon training partner Steve Ferguson, and Junior's parents Bernard and Denise.
The event started at Yelverton roundabout car park at 10am.
The route saw cyclists pass Junior's family home then went onto Burrator Reservoir.
It will then incorporated a lap of the reservoir before heading back to Yelverton and finished at the Burrator Inn where everyone celebrated with a light refreshments.
The ride was open to all of Junior's friends and family, as well as any fellow cyclists, regardless of their ability.
Donations, raised through buckets, will go to the Junior Heffernan Memorial Appeal.
People can still donate by logging on to http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/fundraiser/robinbrew/the-junior-heffernan-memorial-appeal-olympic-legacy-project
Steve said the young cyclist's parents knew Junior would have liked to have been remembered by people supporting the Kelly Olympic Legacy Pool Project.
He said: "This appeal will hopefully give many more promising young athletes the opportunity to develop their talents and enjoy the aspirations and dreams that he had already begun to fulfil."
Junior's funeral is set to take place at St Eustachius Church in Plymouth Road, Tavistock on March 20 at 1pm.
After the service a reception will take place at Kelly College.
Avon and Somerset Police said their inquiries into the death of Junior are continuing.