For my latest Gazette cycling column I was going to write about a ride up Mount Tiede in Tenerife. However, an event occurred the day after our ride that impacted me and many others in Fylde coast cycling.
While we were in a café enjoying the midday sun, my wife received a message from a friend to let us know that Dave Sandiford, a member of numerous local clubs including ours, had died at the age of 46. I found out later that Dave had taken his own life.
I knew Dave for four or five years, and although I was never a close friend I always liked to chat with him whenever I saw him out riding or at the cycle shops where he worked in Bispham and latterly Cleveleys.
Dave always struck me as an unassuming, quiet lad. He was always easy company and a pleasure to be around.
Those closer to him might have known a different Dave but what is certain from the messages I have read these past few days is that the lad was universally liked.
The hundreds of genuine and heartfelt messages posted online, all of them using the same affectionate tone, give you the impression he was one of the good guys.
I’ve written a few times about the mental health benefits of cycling and how it massively helped me during tough times a few years ago.
While I don’t know the circumstances of Dave’s final days, I would like to think that cycling had helped him to combat some of the demons over the years and provided comfort in his tough times.
Perhaps that’s why he took up the sport in the first place. I never had that conversation with him, so can only guess.
In the end Dave wasn’t able to see past the darkness and took a monumental decision, leaving behind a wife and two children.
Shortly before his death, Dave was in the process of doing a charity cycle event to raise awareness of teenage suicide and mental health issues among young people.
This event is still going ahead as it is felt that is what Dave would want.
Anyone wishing to support this charity is invited to visit justgiving.com and search for Dohertys Destiny Cleveleys.
Dave Sandiford 1972-2019. RIP.