COLIN Willcock, president of the Dave Rayner Fund and a former Cycling Weekly correspondent in Yorkshire, died at 11.35pm last night (Saturday) in Dewsbury and District Hospital. He would have been 73 on February 2.

Willcock, who lived near Bradford, devoted much of his life to cycling. Apart from his journalistic work, which at one time included a staff job on BBC local radio in Sheffield, he actively encouraged younger riders in the sport and for many years in the 1970s and 1980s acted as team manager for British riders in the Etoile du Sud stage race.

He was also an accomplished race commentator.

He had been secretary of the Dave Rayner Fund since its inception, and was elected president when he stood down the admin side two years ago. Illness prevented him from attending the last Rayner Fund dinner at Harrogate in November.

Willcock suffered a stroke in 1997, and his last illness began with a further stroke in October. He had been in full-time care until being re-admitted to hospital on New Year?s Eve.

Derek Smith, chairman of the Dave Rayer Fund and Willcock?s best man at his wedding in 1960, said: ?Until two or three years ago when he became too ill to play an active role, the Fund was virtually Colin?s life and he made a tremendous contribution.?

As a rider of modest ability, Willcock was a member of the now defunct Spen Valley Wheelers.

He leaves a widow, Jean, son Ian and daughter Sally. Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.

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