Plaid Cymru councillor killed while training for cardiac unit charity cycle ride

A Plaid Cymru councillor has been killed in a crash while riding his bicycle.

Paul James (pictured) had been training for a fundraising ride from Aberystwyth to Swansea in a bid to raise £10,000 for the cardiac units of two local hospitals.

The 61-year-old’s bike was struck by two cars on the A487 near Aberystwyth at around 5.35pm on Thursday, and he died at the scene, just minutes away from his Ceredigion County Council ward of Llanbadarn Fawr.

Mr James, who served in the British Army from 1974 to 1985, had previously received treatment at both Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth and Morriston Hospital in Swansea for a heart condition, and his planned cycle ride in May was planned to raise money for both.

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake described Mr James as “larger than life” in a tribute on Friday.

He said: “It was with great sadness and shock to hear of Paul’s untimely passing. To those who were fortunate enough to know him, Paul was a larger-than-life character and a real community champion.

“What was behind all that he did was a desire to do the very best to help people. My deepest sympathies go to his family at this terrible time.”

Elin Jones, assembly member for Ceredigion and presiding officer in the Welsh Assembly, said: “It was heart-breaking news to hear of the loss of my great friend Paul James. His passing is a huge loss to so many people and to the causes he supported, but especially to his family.

“There is only one way to describe Paul James – and that is larger than life. He lived life to the full – from Foreign Legionnaire to Plaid Cymru councillor.

“Paul James was a whirlwind of a man and a political phenomenon – never happy unless he achieved 80% of a vote in an election – which he succeeded to do more often than not.

“His family came first, always, then his residents, and then, not far behind, the rest of us. He served his community of Llanbadarn Fawr – Sulien ward with passion and diligence, and was loyal to all of his causes.

“I salute you, Paul. Diolch am dy gwmni a dy gymwynas (thank you for your company and your kindness).”

Dyfed-Powys Police said they were investigating the crash and appealed for witnesses.

A spokeswoman said: “Police are appealing for anyone who saw this incident, or were travelling along this stretch of road at the time, to come forward.

“In particular, anyone who saw a cyclist riding towards Aberystwyth, or a grey Ford Galaxy and blue Vauxhall Vectra travelling along the road around the time of the collision.

“Anyone with information is urged to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit by calling 101.”

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