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Injured vicar is back in action
THE Bishop of Swindon is carrying out his religious duties with his left arm in a sling after suffering a fractured collar bone in a bicycle crash on Saturday.
The Rt Rev Dr Lee Rayfield, a member of the Swindon Road Club, was taken to hospital after coming off his bike in a race at the Winter Series at Ludgers-hall, near Salisbury.
The 56-year-old is making preparations to enable him to carry out his work and that of his boss, The Rt Rev Mike Hill, the Bishop of Bristol, who is on extended study leave.
Dr Rayfield said: “My diary will have to be rejigged to cope with the fact this has happened, but I’m sure people will be understanding.
“I had to cancel the two services I was supposed to be in involved in on Sunday, I really was not up to going out or doing anything. But I don’t anticipate it will prevent me from taking services.
“It’s not going to be so good for a few weeks. I cannot tie my shoe laces and things like that. I’m going to need some people to look after simple tasks.”
The bishop, of Field Rise, started cycling about two-and-a-half years ago after he was no longer able to run for fitness due to arthritis of the hip. He cycles regularly on long-distance trips and competes in races as a member of Swindon Road Club.
The crash took place when he was racing against several other riders on a closed oval circuit.
He said: “Just over half way through the race, somebody went down in front of me and they lost control of their bike in front of me and there was not anything I could do about it.
“So I ended up going over the person and crashing on to my left shoulder, the left side of my head and my left hip, it was not pretty.”
He was taken to Salisbury District Hospital suffering from a collar bone fractured in two places and a bruised left hip, as well as other bruises and grazes.
His cycle helmet, which is broken in on the left temple, absorbed the shock of the impact to his head.
His arm was put in a sling and he visited the Great Western Hospital yesterday, and he expects to undergo an operation to repair the fracture.
The news of the accident was announced to the congregation at Christ Church, in Old Town, on Sunday. Dr Rayfield said he was pleased with the support from the community, including from fellow club members.
The father-of-three hopes to be well enough to conduct the marriage of his son, Matt, 28, to fiancée Jade at Bristol Cathedral on April 28.
Despite his injuries, Dr Rayfield plans to get back on his bike and race again. He said: “I’m probably not going to go in for that kind of race any more because I can’t risk having another collar bone broken. But I’m certainly going to carry on doing competitive riding.”