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Cyclist who was still breaking records in his 80s killed in collision

Leonard Finch, 86, was described by family as ‘always a great help and inspiration to us all’.

An “inspirational” cyclist who helped found two clubs and was still breaking records into his 80s has died in a road accident.

Leonard Finch, of Chilton near Sudbury, Suffolk had taken up the sport at the age of 16 in 1946.

He was one of the original “skid kids” who rode cycle speedway around crumbling bombsites in the East End of London.

He went on to help found Walthamstow Wolves cycling club and years later the Cycle Club Sudbury in Suffolk.

Mr Finch died on Thursday, aged 86, at Lavenham Road, Great Waldingfield.

Suffolk Police said officers were called to reports that a cyclist may have collided with a stationary lorry.

His family paid tribute in a statement, saying: “Len was always a great help and inspiration to all of us.

“He was a founding member of Cycle Club Sudbury and an honouree member.

“He was always cheerful and friendly and would do anything for anyone – provided it was to do with cycling!

“Leonard lived for his cycling, he raced throughout his life and was still breaking records into his 80s.

“He was truly one of the greats. RIP Leonard – you will be missed.”

In a BBC interview in 2015, Mr Finch said: “When we lived in the East End there were lots of bomb sites.

“They were a draw for kids – they were untamed land.”

He said his bike was an old frame his father had bought for five shillings, some old wheels, no brakes, and handlebars were often made of gas piping.

“After the war it was just a matter of make do and mend,” he said. “It was a Cinderella sport.”

Police are appealing for dashcam footage from anyone who was travelling on the B1071 between Lavenham and Sudbury between 2.30pm and 3pm on Thursday.

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