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Byron cycling community in mourning after fatal accident

AT LEFT: Jenny Caldwell ready to go on a mountain bike ride with members of the Byron Bay Cycling Club.
AT LEFT: Jenny Caldwell ready to go on a mountain bike ride with members of the Byron Bay Cycling Club.

THE wheels stopped turning for Suffolk Park cyclist Jenny Caldwell last Thursday but her contribution to the Byron Bay community will never be forgotten.

The 68-year-old and her husband Les had stopped at Stockton, north of Newcastle, for an afternoon stroll along the break wall when a white Toyota Hilux four-wheel drive reversed over Mrs Caldwell, killing her.

Witnesses and the 30-year-old male driver of the Toyota from Stockton performed CPR on Mrs Caldwell, but she died at the scene.

News of the popular Byron Bay Cycling Club member's death quickly filtered around the town, shocking the close-knit cycling community.

Byron Bay Cycling Club secretary John Langler said when he got a phone call at 8pm last Thursday from a friend about the tragic incident he couldn't believe what he was hearing.

"It was unbelievable ... even now I think to myself, 'how could that have happened?', I keep thinking 'why Jenny?'," Mr Langler said.

"She was someone who gave so much of herself to the community and God takes her away from us.

"It's just not fair."

Mr Langler said the incident had devastated Mr Caldwell.

"I spoke to Les the morning after the accident and I asked how he was and if he's coping alright," he said.

"He said 'John, I'm just devastated, I don't know which way to turn'."

The couple left home on Thursday for Mrs Caldwell to compete in a race.

"Jenny was heading down to the Blue Mountains to take part in a mountain biking event that was held this weekend," Mr Langler said.

"Then they were going to holiday and visit people and catch up with friends."

The Caldwells moved from Melbourne to Suffolk Park about 10 years ago but had holidayed at Byron Bay for the past 15 years.

"When they came up here on holidays Jenny used to join the Byron Bay Cycling Club for their Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday training rides," Mr Langler said.

"She was a full-of-life character, so when she joined you knew she was there; she just laughed and had an engaging personality which everyone warmed to and enjoyed."

In her professional life as a physiotherapist, Mrs Caldwell was the "athletes' physio of choice", Mr Langler said.

"She worked on a lot of the local cycling athletes and certainly the swimming fraternity used to come to her," he said.

Mrs Caldwell was also a passionate environmentalist involved in dune care with the Suffolk Park Dunecare Group

"Outside of her Saturday mornings with the dune care group she had her own projects she would do locally," Mr Langler said.

"She maintained the western side of the bike path from the end of Alcorn St down to the bridge over Tallow Creek

Aside from her sporting and environmental pursuits, Mr Langler said Mrs Caldwell was quite the intellectual.

"Apart from her profession of physiotherapy, Jenny was in book clubs, she was very very well read, could talk on almost any subject, she was a great communicator and a good carer," he said.

Police are still investigating the incident and are yet to lay charges against the driver of the Toyota.

Mrs Caldwell's funeral is being planned for next week on The Northern Rivers.

Topics:  cyclist cyclist death editors picks



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