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Motorcycling world mourning for 'Flying Doctor' John Hinds

By Cate McCurry

Published 06/07/2015

Dr John Hinds with his medical equipment and bike
Dr John Hinds with his medical equipment and bike
Dr John Hinds treating racer and TV presenter Guy Martin
Dr John Hinds on his bike during a race

The world of motorcycle road racing is in mourning over one of the sport's most respected unsung heroes - Dr John Hinds.

The dedicated travelling volunteer doctor - who died after crashing during a practice run at the annual Skerries 100 race in Co Dublin - was considered one of the best in his field.

The 35-year-old was one of just two mounted doctors here, but he was also a consultant anaesthetist at Craigavon Area Hospital and passionate about racing.

He often worked as a racing doctor and had treated countless injured riders before he became a victim of the sport he loved.

Dr Hinds was travelling behind the riders as they made their way around the course during the opening lap of the practice session when the accident happened.

It's believed he lost control of his motorbike and sustained serious head injuries when he fell off. He was rushed to hospital where he died on Saturday afternoon.

Dr Hinds, whose partner Janet Acheson works as a obstetrician at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, was a former pupil of St Patrick's Grammar School in Downpatrick and a member of the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (MCUI).

Colin Hillis, whose father John was killed in a road crash on the Tandragee Road near Poyntzpass, paid tribute to the "absolute gentleman" who was at his father's side when he died.

The 34-year-old from Poyntzpass said Dr Hinds was one of the first medics on the scene following the 2012 crash.

"He was able to keep my dad alive until he was taken out of the car but unfortunately he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital," he said.

"We took great comfort that he received the very best treatment and care from the doctors. We knew one of the ambulance drivers and they explained that when they arrived at the scene Dr Hinds was already there and they just stepped back and watched him in amazement.

"He had the very best chance in terms of what Dr Hinds could do but his injuries were too great. I met him at my father's inquest and the way he approached things was on a professional level while also being an absolute gentleman.

"We know he did everything he could to preserve my dad's life."

A MCUI official said: "John was a true friend to everyone in the motorcycling fraternity throughout Ireland. He has touched the lives of many and indeed has saved many lives not only in his role as a hospital consultant but also as travelling doctor on call at motorcycle road racing events both north and south.

"He will be sorely missed by everyone. Our sincere condolences go to John's family and friends at this very sad time."

The Resuscitationist's Guide to Everything, a team made up of emergency medical doctors from across the world, posted a tribute to Dr Hinds on their website.

They said: "The world of critical care has lost one of its smartest, funniest, bravest and most inspirational brethren.

"We are lost for words. Our thoughts are with John's family.

"John, we love you, we miss you."

President of the North Armagh Motor Cycle and Car Club, Ian Forsythe, was a close friend of Dr Hinds and spoke movingly of his dedication to the sport.

"It's terribly sad, his expertise saved an awful lot of riders' lives over the years," he said.

"John was a very quiet, unassuming guy who also had a great sense of humour, he had a great way of putting people at ease at the scene of an accident and instilled confidence in them."

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