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Picture of the week: Thousands pay tribute to 'biking doctor'

By Helen Carson

Motorcycle medic Dr John Hinds' funeral cortege consisted of a convoy of bikers who escorted his remains back to his home town of Tandragee this week.

The 'racing doctor', as John (35) had become known, lost his life in a crash at an event which sent shockwaves through the racing community across Ireland, north and south.

He was providing medical cover at a Skerries 100 practice session last Friday in Co Dublin when tragedy struck.

Thousands of bikers accompanied the hearse as it made a lap of the Tandragee 100 circuit Dr Hinds had toured so many times.

Dr Hinds' heartbroken partner, Dr Janet Acheson, led the mourners riding pillion on the back of a bike ridden by Dr Fred McSorley, Ireland's only other volunteer medic for motorcycle road races.

The exceptional Tandragee man, an anaesthetist at Craigavon Area Hospital, was known as one of the 'racing doctors' for travelling behind riders as they made their way around circuits to ensure they had immediate medical attention if needed.

Anne Forsythe, secretary of the North Armagh Motorcycle and Car Club, who had known Dr Hinds for 14 years, said: "This was a fitting tribute to a wonderful man.

"We are absolutely blessed to have had him. His death is a huge loss to us all."

There were up to six ambulances in attendance at the funeral, with more medics joining the cavalcade from the Republic to mourn a fallen hero.

Alan Irwin, a St John Ambulance volunteer, said: "John had a wonderful way with people, a very professional manner, always able to put you at your ease."

Dr Hinds had also crusaded to bring an air ambulance service to Northern Ireland.

John Forsythe, president of the North Armagh Motorcycle and Car Club, said: "It would be a fitting tribute if we could achieve John's dream of an air ambulance - not just for our sport, but for Northern Ireland as a whole."

Dr Hinds' family said "the world will be a poorer place without him".

A petition calling for the introduction of an air ambulance service here has already received over 35,000 signatures. Find it at:

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