Kev is cycling home from Rome to help save lives

Kev Batty.
Kev Batty.

A devoted grandad who died while swimming with his grandchildren has inspired a charity bike ride from Rome to Wakefield.

Stuart Thompson, 61, from Wrenthorpe, was on a regular visit to Sun Lane Leisure Centre with his wife Kath and three grandchildren, when he had a heart attack in the pool.

Life-saving staff managed to resuscitate him at the poolside.

He was rushed to Pinderfields Hospital ande managed to stay alive just long enough for his family to say goodbye.

His Daughter Lynsey Thompson said her dad’s unexpected death has left the family determined to help prevent others losing a loved one, by raising £10,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

She said: “Dad was such a healthy man who liked to stay fit for his grandchildren. He had always kept an eye on his cholesterol and there was no reason to suspect there was anything wrong with his heart.”

Miss Thompson’s partner of 21 years, Kevin Batty, will cycle 1,547 miles from Rome to Wakefield, taking in four countries in 16 days, in July.

The 48-year-old is no stranger to charity bike rides, having cycled across Britain and Europe for various charities.

He will be joined on the final two stages of his journey from Canterbury or Retford, by family and friends, and anyone else who would like to take part.

Miss Thompson is one of them. She said: “We hope the bike ride will help save lives. It’s what dad would have wanted us to do.”

The fundraiser, sponsored by Outwood Grange Academy, Sun Lane Leisure Centre, Xercise4Less and Xamax Clothing, is a real family affair, with Mr Thompson’s three brothers all taking part or helping to organise it.

A spin-a-thon will also be held at Xercise 4 Less , on Denby Dale Road, on February 1 at 2pm.

To make a donation or to get involved email call 07899 957123 or visit