Tragic churchgoing cycle enthusiast David Catherwood had ‘heart of gold’

Police at the scene after the fatal accident
Police at the scene after the fatal accident

A Christian cyclist who died after a collision on a main road has been described as a “one in a million” character.

David Catherwood, 61 and from Belfast, died as a result of the crash on the A2 Bangor Road in north Down, which happened at around 6.30am yesterday.

David Catherwood

David Catherwood

Family members have paid tribute to him as a kind and devout man, who attended Mountpottinger Methodist Church and would raise cash for charity through his frequent bike rides.

Mr Catherwood, 61, had been riding in the Bangor direction with another cyclist – a man in his 30s – who suffered minor injuries as a result of the crash, which involved a white Mazda.

The group Cycle 4 Christ posted a message on the internet about his death.

Giving his nickname as “The Weary Wanderer”, the group said: “His passion for life and his family, everything he set his heart to do for people and God, cannot be equalled...

“We’ll miss you David but we’ll also see you soon, when we’re home with you in glory.”

His cousin Vera Hounsell, also 61, said: “He was a fellow who was kind-hearted. You only had to ring him for anything and he would’ve been up at your house.”

She said that he was “well into his church”, adding: “I’m totally shocked. It’s hard to take in that he’s no longer here...

“He had a big heart. And in the middle of his heart was gold. He was one in a million.”

She added that he was married with “four beautiful children”.

Vera’s husband Dave said he used to cycle dozens of miles in the morning before going to work, adding: “He’d cycle from Belfast to Portrush, no problem, and back again – at his age!”

Another cousin, Phyllis Irvine, 57, described him as a “warm and caring person”.

“He cycled everywhere. Nothing was too far for him – he was a fit person,” she said.

Last Tuesday had been the anniversary of his mother’s death, and last Wednesday had been the anniversary of his father’s death, both of whom had died many years ago.

It is understood he worked with security alarm systems.

Gordon Dunne, DUP MLA for North Down where the crash occurred, said: “It’s just so sad – a Christian man out like that on a lovely morning is taken away from us.

“I suppose it highlights the whole uncertainty of life for all of us. Life can be taken away so quickly – it’s so precious”.

Scene of the crash

Mr Dunne said that this particular stretch of the A2 Bangor Road – which has two lanes running in each direction, separated by no crash barrier – is part of a 50mph average zone.

This is marked by large yellow overhanging speed cameras, which record a car at a variety of points on the route to work out its average speed.

The accident occurred in on part of the A2 running parallel to the Royal Belfast Golf Club in the Cultra area; specifically, between the Old Station Road and Glencraig Park.

Paul Roberts, Bangor West Green Party councillor, said that whilst he owns an electric car, he commutes by bicycle during dry weather.

However, he avoids the A2, which he describes as “a very dangerous road – even for drivers”.

The main factors are the “volume of traffic and speed of traffic”.

Much of the whole route between Belfast and Bangor is a 50mph zone, and whilst he said some sections which are covered by cycle lanes, the ideal situation would be to have one all the way between Bangor and Belfast, either along the A2 or along the coast – although he acknowledged this would be “very expensive”.

“It’s impossible to know what the solution is,” he said.

“A mixture of high-speed vehicles and cyclists just doesn’t work. It’s just too risky.”

There was no suggestion of blame on the part of the driver from police on Tuesday night.

Nobody was arrested.