Final goodbye for cycling centenarian

Billie Fleming passed away shortly after her 100th birthday. Billie Fleming passed away shortly after her 100th birthday.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
2:04 PM

Billie Fleming passed away on Monday with her family by her side just a month after milestone birthday.

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Billie when she cycled 39,000 miles around the UK.Billie when she cycled 39,000 miles around the UK.

A CENTENARIAN who cycled 30,000 miles around Great Britain in a year and inspired generations has died just a month after her 100th birthday.

Billie Fleming, wife of the late George Fleming, who was the first man to cycle 50 miles in less than two hours, celebrated the milestone birthday in April.

She passed away at North Devon District Hospital on Monday, May 12 with her family by her side but leaves behind her a legacy of ‘girl power’.

Her stepson Peter Samwell said Billie was an ‘amazing lady’ who was thrilled to have reached her 100th birthday and be featured in the North Devon Gazette.

He said: “Billie’s passing at the age of 100 after a short illness is a sad occasion for her family and friends but I am certain that Billie would not want people to mourn but instead to use her death as a source of inspiration to carry on cycling.

“For her, death is probably no more than a puncture in life’s cycling journey, and now she can be reunited with her beloved husband, my father, George Fleming who passed away in 1997.

“Fortunately Billie reached her goal of getting to 100 and she was so pleased to have been interviewed by Sarah at the North Devon Gazette about her 1938 world record of cycling 29,604 miles in one year.

“Just this morning I opened Billie’s mail and read a letter from a 41 year-old mum who took up road cycling last year.

“She said that to her, Billie was the original ‘Girl Power’ and how she has been inspired to clock up the miles this year.

“What better epitaph could Billie ask for than to have inspired future generations of cyclists?”

Arrangements for Billie’s funeral are still ongoing but Billie’s family has asked for donations to The Cornwall Leukaemia Trust in lieu of flowers.

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