A cyclist seriously injured while riding 3,000 miles around the UK was undertaking the challenge to raise awareness of teenage suicide following the death of his niece. Christopher 'Bill' Boxer had 156 miles left and was riding to Brookland in Kent to celebrate his 61st birthday when he was hit by a lorry being driven on the A259 on Friday 10 December.
Mr Boxer was rushed to King's College Hospital by air ambulance, where he continues to be treated for serious injuries, including a bleed on the brain, broken ribs, broken vertebrae, internal organ damage and injuries to his pelvis and hips.
Kent Police confirmed the lorry driver did not stop at the scene and are appealing for dash cam footage relating to the incident which happened at around 3pm.
A man in his 70s from East Sussex was arrested in connection with the incident and has been released under investigation.
The cyclist, affectionately known as Bill to his friends, was cycling Britain on his bike, named 'Braders' after Sir Bradley Wiggins, in memory of his niece Melodie, who took her life aged 14 last January.
Bill's sister, Janet Callingham, told Kent Online she wants more people to hear about her brother's journey to continue to spread the message of raising awareness of teenage suicide.
"Chris was really close to Melodie, he found it quite hard to deal with it when she passed away," Mrs Callingham told the regional news website.
"As much as there wasn't anything he could do, for his own peace of mind and sanity, he decided to go on his bike around the country, not raising money, but raising awareness and talking to people that he met along the way.
"He was visiting churches, landmarks and pubs, and people were following him and spurring him on. He met up with policemen, vicars, and anybody who would talk to try and get them to look out for people, and be kind to each other.
"People offered to donate money, but he just wanted to raise awareness and also help his mental health to try and feel like he's making a difference. He wasn't just a bloke on a bike, he was doing something great."
Mrs Callingham said the family are visiting him in hospital but will not know the full extent of the injuries until he wakes up.
"He’s on a ventilator at the moment to breathe for him so everything else can rest. We can talk to him but whether he can hear us or not, we don't know," she explained.
Mr Boxer's country-crossing ride took him to Stonehenge and a Buddhist temple in Milton Keynes, all while documenting his journey on social media. While in Lincolnshire he met three dads completing a 300-mile walk in memory of their daughters, raising money for suicide prevention charity Papyrus.
Kent Police ask that anyone with information about the incident calls the serious collision investigation unit on 01622 798538 quoting reference SM/DH/138/21.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.