Belfast Telegraph

Keep alive the legend of hero doctor John Hinds

By Colin Brown

Saturday week ago, Northern Ireland, road racing and the medical profession lost a great man. In a world where we hero-worship pop stars, actors and celebrities, Dr John Hinds stood head and shoulders above those around him.

As road racing fans we know the names Dunlop, McGuiness, Martin, Tinmouth and Johnston - and rightly so. We spectators are in awe of their ability and bravery.

But we would not know any of these names if it wasn't for the volunteers, the marshals, medics and organisers of these events. Without them, road racing would not exist.

Ask any road racing fan the names of these volunteers and the one name repeated again and again is Dr John Hinds.

On finding of his passing, I placed a small dedication on my Facebook page and via Twitter. An old school friend, who now lives in Australia and is a paramedic, informed me that he had been trained watching videos of Dr Hinds' lectures.

I was lucky enough to have five minutes with him at the North West 200 this year. We spoke about his frustration and disbelief at the lack of a helicopter emergency medical service in Northern Ireland and his battles to get the situation changed.

About an hour later, he came flying past myself and the other spectators, bags flapping at his waist, chasing the Supertwins (and, to be fair, catching them in places).

In this world, the quiet man is often forgotten; passed over for brash, in-your-face, superficial people. I would ask that the people of Northern Ireland - road racers, fans and the medical profession - not to let John Hinds' passing be for nothing.

Organisers of the road races: auction off some VIP days and pillion laps. Racers: sign some knee sliders, gloves and helmets; thousands of fans will bid for these bits of memorabilia. The people of Northern Ireland: £1 from each of you and you will have the air ambulance you deserve.

Raise the money for the helicopter to keep the people of Northern Ireland safer, but name it for Dr John Hinds. Let his legend live on.

Colin Brown is a businessman based in Devon and a frequent visitor to the North West 200

Belfast Telegraph


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