An 86-year-old who was in the middle of cycling from Land's End to John o' Groats tragically died of a head injury after falling from his bike.
Victor Paget, a keen cyclist for nearly 70 years, had been riding alone on the famous 874 mile journey when the incident occurred.
Mr Paget, was found having come off his bike on August 28, 2020, on the outskirts of Okehampton along the B3260 Tavistock Road near Betty Cottles Inn.
An inquest held at Torquay Town Hall heard the retired painter and director was airlifted to Derriford Hospital where he passed away on September 4, Devon Live reports.
Mr Paget, who lived in Leamington Spa, had previously completed the challenge at the age of 77 in 14 days which was described as a 'highlight' in his cycling achievements.
Typically the route takes anywhere between 10 to 14 days.
When Mr Paget died he was attempting to complete the route in just 12 days.
The record for cycling from Land's End to John o' Groats is currently held by Andy Wilkinson, who completed the journey in 41 hours, 4 minutes and 22 seconds on a Windcheetah recumbent tricycle.
Although there were no witnesses to Mr Paget's fatal fall, a motorist told police how prior to the incident she had found him lying in a grass verge.
In a statement she told how when she had stopped to offer him help, he had got up and was hobbling and said he was on his way to Okehampton.
She said he struggled to get back onto his bike, but insisted he was okay, and thanked her for stopping.
She added: “When eventually he got on the bike he was very unsteady and all over the road.”
The driver then returned to the path he had taken to check on him, and said he was still wobbling and when he got off his bike he was ‘limping quite badly’.
He declined offers of a lift or for her to get him refreshments, and she says the last she saw he was pushing his bike in the direction of a petrol station.
She was later shocked to hear of his death.
Police told how another member of the public reported finding a man with significant head injuries who had come off his bike.
It was noted that weather conditions that day had been quite windy with heavy rain showers and the road surface was wet. No problems were found on the bike or road surface and no evidence was found suggesting any other vehicle was involved in the incident.
Police were unable to confirm how many miles Mr Paget had cycled that day or where he had started from.
He was described by his family as a very experienced cyclist and they said he ‘no doubt’ would have completed his latest challenge if it were not for the fall.
Paying tribute to Mr Paget, his family said: “Unfortunately he has died in a tragic accident, his last living action was pushing the pedals.
“Vic was a noble spirit who will be sadly missed by his family and saluted by fellow cyclists.”
A post mortem examination confirmed the cause of Mr Paget’s death was traumatic head injury and multiple other body injuries sustained during the cycling incident.
Recording a conclusion of accidental death, coroner Ian Arrow said: “Sadly, on August 28, on the outskirts of Okehampton, Mr Paget has fallen off his bike on a couple of occasions.
“It appears to me in falling from his bike he has particularly injured his head.
“Had he not fallen from his bike and hit his head he would not have died at the time he did."