Cyclist collapses on charity ride but medics riding behind him rush to save his life

David Graney, left, at the London to Brighton Cycle ride <i>(Image: PA)</i>
David Graney, left, at the London to Brighton Cycle ride (Image: PA)

A cyclist who collapsed on the London to Brighton Cycle Ride said he owes his life to a team of doctors who happened to be cycling behind him.

David Graney, 63, suffered a cardiac arrest while climbing up Ditchling Beacon and does not remember falling from his bike.

His life was saved by a team of 30 medics who happened to be cycling directly behind him and who performed vital CPR.

Furniture manufacturing agent David, who lives near Salisbury, said: “I am eternally grateful to them. They absolutely saved my life and I owe them my life for that. I can’t thank them enough.

The Argus: David in hospital
The Argus: David in hospital

David in hospital (Image: PA)

“Directly behind me and my partner was a team of, I’m told, about 30 (children’s specialists), but I think there were 16 of them directly behind me. Two of them immediately administered CPR to me within seconds of me collapsing.”

“When I was in the hospital, I had an angiogram and they discovered that the main vein entering the bottom of my heart was 90 per cent constricted, so it was squashing itself down.

“It was just a vein that was constricting itself and, as it turns out, it’s what my father died of at age 64 some years ago, and I’m 63, so it could be something there.”

After his collapse on September 10, David was immediately treated by the team of paediatric specialists from St George’s Hospital in London who helped to rush him to the top of Ditchling Beacon.

He was then taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton after an air ambulance attended the scene.

David had been completing the ride in memory of his son, Nicholas, who died from complications related to hydrocephalus 25 years ago. He was also marking the four-year anniversary of his wife’s death.

Dr Nick Prince, a consultant paediatric intensivist who helped to save David’s life, said: “It was a privilege to be there when David needed us, and certainly very fortunate timing.


“That single moment when his heart responded and started beating again made the whole day worthwhile. We are so pleased to hear he is home and doing well.

“It was a phenomenal response from first responders, ambulance teams, our hospital cycling team, and the air ambulance all together.

The Argus: Medics from St George's at the finish line
The Argus: Medics from St George's at the finish line

Medics from St George's at the finish line (Image: PA)

“We were cycling for St George’s Hospital Charity Children’s Appeal. To know that David was cycling for Child Bereavement UK in honour of his son is incredibly moving.”

David added that he had since been fitted with a stent and is back home recovering with his two other sons, his partner and his sister-in-law.

Doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

The London to Brighton Cycle ride takes place every year and sees riders cycle over 50 miles ending at Madeira Terrace on the seafront.

The event’s route also includes the gruelling mile-long climb up Ditchling Beacon to the top of the South Downs.