Aug 16 2012 By Jackie Grant
CHARITY cyclist Simon Kirk broke his neck in a freak training accident when he collided with a sheep.
Simon was left unconscious and covered in blood after the collision during preparation for a Lands End to John O Groats challenge.
The former Dumfries man, who now lives in Ayr, suffered horrific injuries when he ploughed into the rogue sheep while training with best pal Richard Smith.
Simon, 39, told the Standard: Richard initially thought that I might be dead because I was unconscious on the ground for 30 to 40 seconds.
With no mobile phone signal, and Simon lying unconscious on the ground, Richard was relieved when a couple passing in their car stopped and took them to Ayr Hospital.
But Simon had to be transferred to the spinal injuries unit at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow where tests revealed he had two fractures in his neck.
He had also broken his jaw in the collision on a remote road in Ayrshire.
Simon recalled: I was riding at some speed and the sheep looked up and saw me but, instead of hurdling the barrier, it ran into it and with the combination of the speed I was going, coupled with the downhill road, there was no chance of me not hitting it.
I think the carbon fork in the bike must have gone but unlike most cycle crashes I didn't fall over the handlebars as I might actually have landed on the sheep.
I remember feeling my face full of blood but, apart from that, my memory is vague.
Simon was in training to raise cash for charity after his wife Ruth, also from Dumfries, spent a year undergoing tough treatment for breast cancer.
He said: The reason we were taking part in the challenge was to raise money for Ayrshire Cancer Support and Macmillan Cancer Support and I was inspired by Ruth. When she was going through treatment, she was hardly ever down and barely missed a day of work.
Simon will now have to wear a neck brace for the next three months in a bid to recover from his injuries.
Ruth, whose parents live in Amisfield, said: Simon and I both went to Dumfries High School and we married at Hetland Hall in 2005.
My parents live in Amisfield and Simons in Georgetown. We moved to Ayr a few years ago but try to see our family as often as we can with our five-year-old daughter Anna.
They were invaluable to us while I was receiving my treatment for cancer.
My mum, Simon's mum and my auntie and uncle took it in turns to take me to Glasgow for treatment and made sure I was never on my own.
To be told I was free of treatment one day and then for Simon to have this accident the next, it just seemed like one drama after another and its turned out to be a tough year and a half.
Richard will still be taking part in the cycle in September. To donate to the fundraising effort visit www.facebook.com/SiandRichLE-JOG.
Ruth, 42, is also holding her own charity event at the Horizon Hotel in Ayr on August 31.
She is delighted that Dumfries businesses, including hairdresser Nelson Brown and Border Cars, have pledged their support to the cause.
Ruth, who sprinted for Scotland during her teens and early 20s, added: Simon has always been incredibly supportive of me and now its my turn to be there for him.
He could have been left paralysed after the accident but at least theres an end in sight for us.
After what weve been through in the last year, we know that some people arent always as lucky.