"I'm not dead" - shop owner's bid to halt disturbing rumours of his demise

A long-serving Castleford shop owner says he is desperate to put a stop to ‘disturbing’ rumours circulating that he has died from Covid-19.

Friday, 18th September 2020, 4:45 pm
Cycle of LIfe: Gary Proud says people have been coming to his shop to offer his wife their condolences.

Gary Proud says would-be mourners have been coming to his bicycle shop, Kendell Cycles on Middle Oxford Street, to offer their condolences to his wife, and looking like they’ve “seen a ghost” when he appears from behind the counter.

Gary, who grew up in Castleford, is well known locally among both bicycle and motorbike circles.

He has run his shop for more than four decades, is team captain of Featherstone Road Club and was an elite cycling athlete in his younger days.

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He also makes wheels for motorcycles so is known by many of the bikers who frequent West Yorkshire, especially Squires Cafe Bar in Sherburn.

The 58-year-old is uncertain where the rumours started, or how they took hold, but says they have been circulating around the pubs in Castleford and among motorcycle enthusiasts.

After initially laughing off the claims he says it is becoming upsetting for family and friends.

Gary said: “I had an old school buddy come in recently who thought I’d died, and on the same day we had somebody from Squires come in. My brother was speaking to someone and even they were saying it’s a shame about the bloke in the bike shop!

“I’m finding it quite funny but I think it’s upsetting people now. I have no idea where it came from. It seems to have gathered pace and it’s getting a bit disturbing.

“People are coming into the shop to see my wife and then see me, and look like they’ve seen a ghost.

“I don’t want to make light of it because a lot of people have died from Covid-19 but I have to laugh.

“It’s got to the point that if I have a cough I think, ‘have I now got it?’

“I don’t want to be dying twice!”