Heartbreaking journey to see ‘shining star’

Sally Preece who died while riding from land's End to John O'Groats. ANL-140915-114344001
Sally Preece who died while riding from land's End to John O'Groats. ANL-140915-114344001

A couple from Spalding had a heartbreaking journey to Scotland on Saturday as their “shining star”, daughter Sally Preece, lay fatally injured in hospital.

Sally (49) was unconscious and on life support in intensive care after being hit by a car on day seven of a nine day cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Her mum and dad, Judy and Terry Wing, and brother Martin, had a few precious hours to say farewells to Sally who lived to help others and died helping others.

The mum-of-two was raising thousands of pounds for Alzheimer’s sufferers while cycling with a Lloyds Bank team in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain.

Sally aimed to raise £4,000 but, as people heard news of her tragic death, donations to her JustGiving site soared to more than £5,500.

Terry (74) said: “She continued to help people after she died because she had signed up to the organ donation scheme.”

Judy (72) said: “It’s a little comfort for us, really.”

Spalding born Sally lived in Cheltenham with her husband, Philip, and children Brad (16) and Amy (13), but was a frequent visitor to her home town and kept in touch with family here on social media.

Sally phoned her parents every day as she took part in the Deloitte ride. “She was ever so close to her mum,” said Terry.

Judy said: “She used to ring very night when she had finished a day’s cycling and say ‘just checking in with you’ and on Friday night she didn’t.”

Judy called Sally’s mobile and got the answer machine, but learned soon afterwards about that morning’s accident from her son-in-law. The Wings had a second call at 2am on Saturday and later that morning took the first train from Peterborough to Edinburgh and then a taxi to the Forth Valley Hospital in Stirling.

Sally attended the former Westlode Junior School and Spalding High School before going to Durham University to study music.

She played violin from the age of seven - taking piano as a second instrument.

Sally played in the National Children’s Orchestra from the age of ten and was a member of the Lincolnshire Youth Orchestra.

She organised the Cheltenham Connections charity concerts as well as playing violin in the Cheltenham Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sally ran The London Marathon in 2011 for Help for Heroes, but switched to a cycling event because she had arthritis in her feet.

Terry said Sally ran the marathon in a good time – and certainly wasn’t a jogger – and was the fastest woman on stages of the Deloitte ride.

He said: “Our family has always been dominant in boys. In my generation, my sister was the only girl and in the next generation Sally was the only girl. She was the spotlight of the family, really, and then she had a daughter.

“She was our shining star – she was right in the prime of her life, just hitting the stage when she was seeing her own two children growing up.”

n Sally’s funeral service has yet to be arranged.