White Rose Classic: remembering George

Leeds Adult Congenital Cardiologist George Ballard (top right) tragically died in a cycling accident in August last year.

He was not only a gifted and caring doctor but also a big personality – his quirky nature and compassion made him a favourite with colleagues and patients alike.

George was a family man, husband and father and leaves behind an extended family and a wide circle of friends and colleagues who all loved and admired him.

George’s colleagues from the Yorkshire Congenital/ Children’s Heart Unit in Leeds wanted a meaningful challenge to remember and honour George and have set themselves the task of completing the tough White Rose Classic bike event on June 26th.

The team will be raising funds for the CHSF and making a difference to heart patients in Yorkshire, the Humber and Lincolnshire and wearing yellow (George’s favourite colour!).

You can sponsor their cycling team online at Virgin Money Giving.

The team members (see the top image) from left to right are: Consultant Cardiologists Fiona Willcoxson; John Thomson; Helen Michael; Jan Forster (Chief Sonographer) and Dominic Hares.

One of George’s colleagues Helen Michael told us how George’s accident has also affected her feelings about riding a bike, but that he wouldn’t have wanted this tragedy to stop others enjoying the sport he loved. Helen explains:

It had a profound effect on us all. In addition to losing a friend, and a much-loved colleague it also affected how many people felt about cycling.

I felt ill at the thought and stopped completely for a while. That was such a shame and I imagine George would have been really disappointed to know it – he probably would have called me a ‘big wuss’!

I am sure George would approve of us all getting together to do this – this would have been just his idea of a good day out – he would have been there with us given half a chance!

Fellow Cardiologist Fiona Willcoxson added:

I’m so proud to be doing this ride. Not only for the fantastic cause of the CHSF who do such amazing things for our children but for my friend George

I still miss him terribly, and to be cycling in his memory makes this really special and worth all the pain endured on the hills.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund is the White Rose Classic’s official charity this year, and the Ilkley-based event takes place over three challenging distances – 50, 84 and 114 miles.

To fundraise on CHSF’s behalf, secure a place at this special event and find out more information on the fun day, please email [email protected].

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