Tributes have been pouring in to a popular cyclist from Langcliffe who died after a road accident.

Stuart Holdsworth, 64, was in a collision with a VW Golf car towing a caravan on the A65 near Gildersleets, Giggleswick.

The accident happened at 11.05am on Thursday last week and Mr Holdsworth was taken to Airedale General Hospital where he died soon after from his injuries.

Friends and cycling colleagues from all over the world were flying in for his funeral today.

The saxophonist with chart-topping group Supertramp, John Helliwell, has cut short a holiday in Tuscany to be there while another friend is cutting short a business trip to China. Others have cancelled holidays so they can pay their last respects.

Dean Marshall, a close friend and fellow member of the Settle-based World Wide Wheelers Club, was one of them. He said everyone was in a state of shock.

“Many of us saw him only the night before his death because he had organised a leaving party for his daughter, Sofie, who was going to university on the Friday,” he said. “He thought the absolute world of her and dreaded her going.

“It’s hard to believe what’s happened. He was such a selfless person, both socially and in the cycling world. He did so much for people without wanting any thanks and was a great organiser. He would email people and say such and such is happening. All we did was turn up.

“He was so safety conscious too, which makes it harder to take in. He and I had just started up a junior section of the WWW Club with meets on Saturday mornings. He would line the youngsters up and tell them the dangers to look out for.

“He also used to tell them there was a potential Olympic champion among them, which made them smile.”

Originally from Bingley, Mr Holdsworth worked in IT for Bradford and Bingley Building Society before retiring. He moved to Langcliffe 12 years ago.

It was in Settle that he met Norris Lockley, founder of a Settle-based cycling club some years before.

The group soon became known as the World Wide Wheelers Club because of Mr Holdsworth’s propensity to email members.

“The WWW label stuck because of that and also because there were members who lived overseas,” said Mr Lockley.

Mr Holdsworth became club secretary and his latest quest was to encourage more young members to join.

Mr Lockley said: “It is a tremendous loss to everyone who came across Stuart. He was an expert cyclist who would have been cycling internationally had he not been seriously ill in his late twenties.

“He was simply poetry in motion – Settle’s own Eddy Merckx, Stuart’s cycling hero.”

Mr Holdsworth gave freely of his spare time and was an accomplished organiser of races and non-competitive cycling events.

These include the Woolmark Grand Prix, which took place in the Bradford area in the 1970s and 1980s.

In recent seasons he became known as the organiser of the 110-mile Etape du Dales cycling event. He was one of the organisers of the Settle Community and Cycling Festival which culminated with the long-running Three Peaks Cyclocross race.

He was a dynamic and industrious member of the Dave Rayner Fund and co-organiser of its annual fund dinner.

Keith Lambert, from Denholme, who has been a friend of Mr Holdsworth since their 1960s racing days and eventually turned professional, said his friend would be irreplaceable.

He said: “We’ve been friends and, I suppose, racing rivals for many years. Stuart was in the East Bradford cycling club while I was in Bradford Elite.

“Often a group of us would rendezvous at the Junction Pub in Queensbury on Sunday evening after a race to see how everyone did. It was a great atmosphere.

“Stuart will be very sadly missed. He was one in a million.”

After the accident, police closed the road while collision investigators examined the scene.

Investigations continue but friends believe Mr Holdsworth may have been returning after a favourite cycle ride, from his home in Howson’s Lane, to Rathmell, Wigglesworth, Bolton-by-Bowland and back.

North Yorkshire Coroner Geoff Fell opened and adjourned an inquest into Mr Holdsworth’s death.

A funeral service was to take place at Settle Parish Church today at 11am, followed by interment at Brocklands Woodland Burial, Rathmell. Donations can be made to Settle World Wide Wheelers, care of Duncan Robinson funeral services, Unit 2, Kings Mill Lane, Settle BD24 9BS, 01729 825444.

Mr Holdsworth leaves his wife Christine, daughter Sofie, sister Anne and nephews Gavin and Richard.

l Anyone with information about the accident is asked to call TC Carl Chaffer at Skipton road policing unit on 0845 6060 247.