Tragic last moments of Spalding family doctor

Dr Charles Lennon pictured when he retired from Munro Medical Centre in October. SG191016-103TW
Dr Charles Lennon pictured when he retired from Munro Medical Centre in October. SG191016-103TW
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A newly retired family doctor from Spalding was killed under the wheels of a double-decker bus after he appeared to cross the road without looking.

Experienced cyclist Dr Charles Lennon (60), from Halmer Gate, was riding along the A15 on November 8 when a double-decker from Bourne company Delaine Buses came up behind him.

In my opinion, there was nothing Mr Searson (the bus driver) could have done to avoid the collision.

Police accident investigation expert

The driver of the Peterborough to Bourne service, Stephen Searson, was preparing to overtake Dr Lennon, who put his arm out for “maybe a second” before turning right across the road.

Mr Searson said: “He should have looked behind. If he had looked, he would have seen my bus.

“The impact was awful. There was a hell of a bang.

“The impact knocked the cyclist to the ground and the bus drove over him.”

The inquest in Boston yesterday heard the accident happened between Northorpe and Bourne just after 1pm and it appeared Dr Lennon had tried to cross the road to reach a cycle path on the other side.

Medical evidence revealed Dr Lennon, who wore a cycle helmet, had died from both head and chest injuries.

Coroner Paul Cooper concluded Dr Lennon lost his life as a result of a road traffic collision.

Addressing Dr Lennon’s wife, Yvonne, the Coroner said: “I don’t think your husband saw this bus on this particular occasion.”

Earlier, Mr Cooper questioned Mr Searson about the moments leading up to the crash.

Mr Searson, who has driven buses for 16 years, said: “He basically indicated right for a split second, put his hands back on the handlebars and then just turned.”

Mrs Lennon told the hearing that her husband may not have turned his head right round but “I am sure he would have looked”.

The inquest heard the bus driver waited for two oncoming cars to pass by before starting to overtake Dr Lennon’s cycle.

The driver of one of those cars, retired police officer Peter Lamb, from Morton, saw Dr Lennon initially set off from the roadside, stand on the pedals to get momentum and then sit down again on his saddle.

Next he saw the cyclist turn his head to the right, as if looking for traffic behind him.

Mr Lamb said: “If he had looked before he set off, he would have seen the bus coming.”

Eye-witnesses on the bus also said Dr Lennon hadn’t looked behind before turning right to cross the road.

One of them, Christopher Barton, made a statement saying Dr Lennon glanced to his right very quickly, but didn’t look behind.

He said: “It was a glance to his shoulder.”

Another witness, Janet Mason, said: “There was a big smash and the windscreen smashed.”

Police forensic collision investigator Godfrey Barlow examined evidence from CCTV cameras on the bus and said it did not appear that Dr Lennon looked behind him at any point “and seems to have crossed in front of the bus”.

He said: “The collision was as a result of the riding of Dr Lennon.

“In my opinion, there was nothing Mr Searson could have done to avoid the collision.”

• Dr Lennon was a much-loved and respected family doctor who spent 28 years at Spalding’s Munro Medical Centre, including ten as senior partner.

The father of three retired on October 31 last year with lots of plans for the future and was looking forward to becoming a grandfather in January.

But a tragic road accident on November 8 claimed his life.

Dr Lennon was instrumental in the design and development of the Munro Medical Centre’s current home in West Elloe Avenue, which was officially opened by a former Government Chancellor of the Exchequer, Conservative MP Ken Clarke, in May 1997.

Speaking after Dr Lennon’s death, Dr Kevin Hill, chairman of the South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Dr Lennon was passionate in his support of general practice in South Lincolnshire and was well respected by his patients and his peers.

“He was an active member of the CCG and clinical vice chairman of the governing body.

“Everyone is shocked and saddened by this tragedy and our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.”