Much-loved doctor dies in motorcycle crash

Last updated 05:00 23/09/2012

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The death of a respected Dunedin radiologist while on a motorcycle tour through Italy sent shockwaves through a hospital in England.

Dr Jim Cashman, 67, graduated from the Dunedin School of Medicine in the 1970s and had spent the past 25 years working as a radiologist at Watford General Hospital, near London.

Motorcycling was his "hobby away from hospital", and friends, family and colleagues were taking taken comfort in the fact he died doing something he loved.

Cashman was killed in a head-on collision with a van last Saturday.

The accident happened while the doctor was on his annual motorcycle tour with six friends.

Watford General superintendent radiographer Nick Tessier said Cashman's death had hit his colleagues hard. "He was a very well-known and respected character."

Cashman was a "specialist in the radiology field", and it was well-known he had roots in New Zealand, Tessier said.

The radiologist had worked at Timaru Hospital before he moved overseas.

A "passionate" motorcyclist, Cashman also enjoyed restoring post-classic racing bikes, and his European tour was an annual event.

Cashman would be "sorely missed" by colleagues and friends in Hertfordshire.

Brother-in-law Steve Beckett said Cashman was a "highly-respected friend" who would return home to visit family and friends every February.

The "laid back" radiologist "treasured" Kiwi barbecues, he said.

It was "extremely difficult" for his Christchurch-based family to come to terms with his death, especially because Cashman had survived undergoing life-threatening surgery only 18 months ago.

Long-time Christchurch friend Trev Kirby said "when you were with Jim, everything was a laugh".

"I hoped he would have lasted a few more years and hoped we would have had a bit more fun together."

Cashman's funeral will be held at Watford Crematorium, but yesterday his body had still to be released from Genoa.

Family would fly over this week, and the doctor's ashes would be brought home by his sister Pam Beckett, to be laid to rest in New Zealand.

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- Sunday Star Times

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