Updated: Donations flood in after RideLondon-Surrey 100 rider dies following heart attack

Kris Cook, aged 36 and from Woking, was riding the event with his girlfriend

by Simon_MacMichael   August 11, 2014  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

The family of a cyclist from Woking who died of a heart attack yesterday after collapsing while taking part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 have spoken of their shock at his death. Donations on Kris Cook’s Just Giving page for Woking Hospice now stand at over £26,000 – more than fifty times greater than his original target of £500.

The 36-year-old was riding the event, which was the first sportive he had attempted, with his girlfriend Nicola Tait and a number of friends to raise money for charity, reports Get Surrey.

He collapsed at around 1pm on a sharp ascent at Newlands Corner 46 miles into the ride, which had been cut from 100 miles to 86 miles to leave out the climbs of Leith Hill and Box Hill on safety grounds due to the poor weather.

At the bottom of the climb, he told his girlfriend, “I'll meet you at the top of the hill Nic, on the left-hand side,” but on the ascent began suffering chest pains.

Ms Tait, aged 35, who was told by a friend that he had collapsed, told Get Surrey: "There were no paramedics at the top of Newlands Corner, just a couple of support vehicles and he was given mouth to mouth while we waited 20 or 30 minutes for the ambulance to come.

"The paramedics gave him electric shock treatment and then he was taken to hospital.

"I had to go home and wait. The police called and came round to see me and I also spoke to a Prudential organiser who had a medical background and said the situation was looking grey."

Event medical staff, two ambulance crews and air ambulance personnel plus St John Ambulance volunteers all tried to save Mr Cook’s life, but he died in Guildford’s Royal Surrey County Hospital at 2.35pm.

He was raising money for the Woking Hospice with a fundraising target of £500 but at the time of writing donations on his Just Giving page stand at over £26,000, providing his girlfriend and family with some comfort.

She said: “People have got to sponsor him, I really want him to raise as much money as he possibly can.

"It is going to help the family and the whole situation.

"I really want everyone to know, he was just the most wonderful person, he was so beautiful, he looked after me and everyone.

"He was so kind and so generous, I just can't believe he was taken because it is just so unfair."

His mother, Sue Cook, said: "He didn't have a bad bone in his body and would always go the extra mile.

"I had worried all week that something would happen, maybe like a premonition that he would have an accident on his bike but I never thought this.

"We are of course shocked and Nicola is devastated, they had found each other, she had found her perfect partner and [they] were moving in together in September," she added.

11 user comments

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What a tragic way to end the day, and I'm certain everyone in the wider cycling community shares a strong sense of sympathy with his family and girlfriend. The phrase 'he died doing something he loved' was never more apt, and if I had to go some way, unforeseen, on a bike in beautiful surrounds wouldn't be a bad one.

Something those riding with him, who helped at the scene or the organisers who have to place scarce first aid assets on course should take some comfort from: if someone's suffered a heart attack like this, or in fact stopped breathing for pretty much any reason, your chances of making a difference are slim. I have completed dozens of emergency first aid courses over a career in the military, then working with high voltage kit and in remote places. The trainers were universal in telling us that in 95% of cases the person has stopped breathing for a reason that you, and frequently even a surgeon in a fully-equipped operating theatre can't change.

I lead an MTB club ride 20 years ago, where exactly this happened - fit bloke keeled over, a doctor and nurse on the ride were onto him almost before he hit the ground. Ambulance there in 5 minutes. Chopper to hospital in about 15. Nothing they could do.

Ditto in the army completing a route march. The guy behind me keeled over - a 19yo national wrestling champion, fittest guy in the unit, destined for a Special Forces regiment. We were 200 yards from a fully-equipped military hospital. Again, nothing they could do. I remember the anguish on our Lieutenant's face like it were yesterday.

...that's not to say the 5% chance of making a difference isn't worth fighting with every ounce of your ability to make come true. Be trained, don't give up until your arms fall off or a professional takes over - but if it doesn't work out, take comfort you did all you could.

Savour life. Pedal on.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [868 posts]
11th August 2014 - 15:25


^^^ Nice words KiwiMike.

Unfortunately it's not that uncommon to have the occasional death on these mass-participation events.

Condolences to the family and friends.

posted by Joeinpoole [426 posts]
11th August 2014 - 15:30


Joeinpoole wrote:
^^^ Nice words KiwiMike.

Unfortunately it's not that uncommon to have the occasional death on these mass-participation events.

Condolences to the family and friends.

It is very very sad to hear of this but it isn't that uncommon. It's nothing really to do with the event or only in the fact that the event got 10's of thousands of people out on a bike all together on one route and over the course of just a few hours.

dig deep folks. Let's make sure Woking Hospice benefits and his family has at least a tiny bit of solace out this.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [873 posts]
11th August 2014 - 15:54


I am very sorry to hear about this.

posted by Ramuz [116 posts]
11th August 2014 - 16:05


RIP. Such a sad event.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3691 posts]
11th August 2014 - 16:19


Having recently been diagnosed with large mass bilateral embolisms at 37, I can testify that your body can let you down regardless of how fit you are at any time and without warning.

Do what you love and love what you do.
my thoughts go out to his family.

posted by Mart [110 posts]
11th August 2014 - 16:22


Very sad, condolences to his family and friends.

Without wishing to be inappropriate but to back up KiwiMike's comments, while the odds are stacked against it being successful, CPR is not difficult to learn and is something everyone should be able to attempt. A friend of mine (37, no previous history) had a heart attack just before christmas but was fortunate to be at a school parents assembly where there were 2 medical professionals present who were able to do CPR until the ambulance arrived. She had surgery 2 days later is now back at work so there is always a chance and it's worth being prepared.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [1081 posts]
11th August 2014 - 17:04


I'd just like to point out that the chances of a persons survival are massively increased when they are given CPR quickly and in conjunction with being fibrillated within 3-5 minutes can increase the survival rate to over 50%.

And there is no need to do mouth to mouth, the CPR is far more important.

If you have staff, do them a favour and get them CPR training, it could easily save someones life, especially if that person is in a built up city with nearby hospitals.

posted by kie7077 [721 posts]
11th August 2014 - 20:29


Just checked Kris' JustGiving page - at £25k and rising. A wonderful tribute to him.

posted by TimC340 [60 posts]
12th August 2014 - 1:18


10.15am and it's nearly £28k.

I did this event last year for Diabetes UK and it was a joy. Best wishes to all his friends and family. Wouldn't it be great if Woking Hospice named a ward or something in his honour?

posted by shabbyhouse [5 posts]
12th August 2014 - 10:15


If it helps clarify on the CPR issues raised by KiwiMike. It is definitely worth getting trained. But even before that you can see the latest idea called hands only CPR which really anybody can do or try in an emergency. Go on the course though.

The hands only CPR idea is excellent and it is pretty simple if you just understand that once a heart has arrested it has lost it's pumping action and is just contracting in an irregular and uncoordinated way. The heart needs to be shocked (stopped) so that it can restart pumping blood in a regular way. That's what a defibrillator does. The main point of CPR isn't to restart the heart. It is very simply to keep compressing the heart to pump the blood manually if you like until someone gets there with a defrbrillator. They used to do the mouth to mouth as well to try to put some more oxygen into the blood stream but it really doesn't add very much. It's more important to just keep compressing the heart and pumping the blood until help arrives.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [873 posts]
12th August 2014 - 10:44