Norfolk man dies participating in the French Iron Man challenge
- Credit: Archant
A high-flying City banker from Norfolk died when he lost control of his bicycle while taking part in an 'Iron Man France' challenge, an inquest heard.
Robert Evans, 30, who grew up in Norwich and Wymondham, was cycling downhill when he fell off his bike and hit his head against a rock. He died in an air ambulance en route to hospital near Nice in the south of France.
Yesterday's Norwich inquest heard that the crash occurred at about 9.15am on June 23 last year.
The inquest was told that a witness saw Mr Evans swerving several times, before hitting a rock. A report into the crash found that he might have been going too fast or it may have been human error. Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake's conclusion was accidental death.
Mr Evans' father Nigel, a retired solicitor from Wymondham, attended the inquest and spoke afterwards of his son's enthusiasm for sport.
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Since the tragic accident, Mr Evans' girlfriend, Emma Thomson, 31, who lived with him in London, has raised more than £8,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance in his memory.
Before his death Mr Evans had registered to take part in a London triathlon and the Amsterdam marathon, and she subsequently took part in those events and fundraised for the air ambulance.
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Miss Thomson works as an accountant in the capital, and was not at the inquest. Afterwards, she said: 'An air ambulance was there in Rob's time of need in France, and the EAAA has become a charity close to my heart. Despite having a high-flying City job, Rob was at heart a Norfolk boy and so it seems right that the charity should be EAAA.'
She said they had been together about eight years after meeting in London, and were talking about marriage. There were no words to describe how much Mr Evans was loved and missed, she said.
'When I remember Rob it is always a smiley, happy, laughing Rob that I think of,' she added. 'He was an amazing sportsman and triathlete and always gave 110pc in everything he took on.
'He had time for everyone. The thing I remember most is the number of people who came up to me after he died, and told me that he was their best friend.'
Mr Evans was born in Norwich, attended Bignold Primary School in the city, and then Wymondham High School. He studied at Nottingham University and then Imperial College, London. When he died, he was working as a vice-president at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
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