Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Final goodbye for cycling centenarian

14:04 20 May 2014

Billie Fleming passed away shortly after her 100th birthday.

Billie Fleming passed away shortly after her 100th birthday.


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

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.

Other News Stories

A new northern breakwater sheltering the harbour would be a huge boost to Ilfracombe.

‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’: North Devon Council has lodged funding bids asking for tens of millions of pounds

Read more
Money is being set aside to expand Sticklepath Community School in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Council expected to rubber stamp half-a-million-pound scheme to boost pupil numbers in west of town.

Read more
The 'cells' of Barnstaple up for flood defence review in the JBA Consulting study

North Devon Council must embark on a multi-million-pound flood defence programme to protect hundreds of houses in Barnstaple.

Read more
Newcross Barnstaple branch manage Alix Ripley is welcomed on board by operations director Geoff White. Picture: Submitted

Firm expands into North Devon with full-time positions for more than 100 healthcare professionals

Read more
Richard Prowse (left) welcomes new North Devon Theatres chairman Richard Purchase

Trust welcomes former NHS chairman on board

Read more
North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones

North Devon’s MP Peter Heaton-Jones said it was ‘welcome’ news to retain South Molton beds, but ‘disappointing’ to see Ilfracombe beds remain shut.

Read more
Atlantic Village will be hosting a street food event this weekend.

The Street Food Warehouse is coming to Bideford this weekend and promises a range of treats from pizza to Cajun chicken.

Read more
Scenes from Princess Anne's visit to Lynton and Lynmouth earlier this year.

The Princess Royal will be visiting Holsworthy on October 19 to visit new livestock market.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:56
SPECIAL moment: Lou Cataldo, who did much to forge the links between Barnstable and Barnstaple, meets Cllr Roome, Cllr Vernon and clerk Anne Jenkins.

Historian who forged links with Barnstaple in North Devon has died aged 95

Read more
Yesterday, 12:14
A decison of community beds was made at North Devon District Hospital this morning. Picture: Andy Keeble

In-patient beds will be retained in South Molton and Holsworthy.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Search for a job in Devon

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications