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West Lothian cyclist dies six months after breaking neck in crash in Spain

Well-wishers had raised €25,000 to bring John Telfer home after crash near Alicante in May

A cyclist from West Lothian has died six months after breaking his neck in a crash while cycling in Spain.

Former prison officer and Royal Navy submariner John Telfer’s neck was broken in two places and was left unable to breathe unaided due to paralysis of his phrenic nerve.

He had landed on his neck after colliding with another cyclist who had crashed when he hit a tree root on a rural road on 4 May this year.

> Friends of a cyclist left paralysed and stranded in a Spanish hospital crowdfund to bring him home

Mr Telfer, who had planned on retiring to the Costa Blanca with his wife Dawn, had been due to travel to the UK to visit family the following day.

Doctors did not expect him to survive the day, but against expectations he continued to battle for his life.

Well-wishers raised more than €25,000 through GoFundMe to pay for an air ambulance to bring the 57-year-old back to Scotland to be near his family.

In a message posted on Facebook on Sunday, Mr Telfer’s son Gregg said that his father, who originally came from Northumberland, had passed away on 1 November.

He wrote: “Unfortunately on Wed 1st of November at 18:01 my friend and father lost his ongoing battle with infection and respiratory issues and passed away with all close family present.

“It was my father’s choice to not accept further ventilation due to complications and although the last 6 months have been the most testing that any family should have to go through, we are still grateful and proud of his character, determination and attitude from sustaining the initial injuries through attempted recovery periods until his passing.

“My dad has been taken from us in a horrible manner, but he was injured doing something he loved.
This is the only comfort I can take from the situation, along with knowing he is no longer in pain and suffering, but at peace with other lost family members.

“I would like to personally thank every single person who supported us, from as far afield as the Americas to across the road in East Calder, as without your support we never would have had the last 5 months of potential recovery in Scotland.

“His treatment here was fantastic and a testament to our public healthcare services,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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