Tragic end to veteran cyclist's charity mission

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2012
Nevill Palmer
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LAST RIDE: Nevill Palmer, 93, was uncompromising in his beliefs and work for charity.

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The daughter of a 93-year-old cyclist who was hit by a light truck and later died in hospital holds no animosity toward the driver involved.

Taupo identity Nevill Palmer was a common sight pedalling around the town's streets on his old bicycle, collecting stamps and donations for charity, but on Wednesday afternoon he appears to have made a fatal mistake.

Police said he was travelling east along Tamamutu St near his home when at 4.20pm, he made a right turn and crossed into the path of a light Nissan truck travelling in the same direction.

Mr Palmer suffered serious head and leg injuries and was taken to Taupo Hospital. He died later that afternoon.

Daughter Frances Osborne yesterday told the Waikato Times she holds "absolutely" no animosity toward the driver, who she understands lives in the area.

"I feel sorry for him," she said.

"I've told police I'm happy to talk to that person and I don't blame that person at all. It must be terrible.

"That person does want to speak to me but he's just pretty devastated at the moment so I'll leave it up to him."

Taupo has lost a local identity and character in Mr Palmer, Mrs Osborne said.

He was a "real trooper" and fiercely independent.

She said her father was a serious man packing a dry sense of humour that was at times lost on others because of his steely demeanour.

"Everybody was concerned because his road skills were not too sharp and it probably wasn't advisable for a 93-year-old to be riding his bike around town at Christmas - it's a bit dodgy."

But that was him to a tee, she said.

"It's what he's always done and he wouldn't give up. It was so him to end up being killed on the job, so to speak."

Mr Palmer, a devout Christian, had donated to the Leprosy Mission since 1976. The money supported the aim of eliminating the disease in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.

Mr Palmer never missed a Sunday Mass, nor did he miss a stamp.

He had been collecting since he was a boy in Wellington and there are stamps from one end of his house to the other - his office was "crammed" with them.

It kept the former Manawatu dairy farmer on his toes.

Mrs Osborne recalled telling her father, who had come down with a cold, to sit on the deck in the sun, relax and read.

"He said, ‘Oh, I haven't got time to do that'. I said, ‘That's pretty sad at 93 - you can't sit in the sun for five minutes'. ‘Oh no', he said, ‘I've got far too much to do'. That's just how he was."

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- Waikato Times

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