A charity cyclist from Tooting was struck down by a 10-wheeler truck last week while pedaling around New York for the blind.

Stephen Hodnett, 40, died at 2.20pm on Wednesday, May 6, while cycling down Jamaica Avenue in the Queen’s district with his Canadian friend, Gavin Wright.

The pair set out to raise money by cycling between every tube station in the city, a stunt they had already performed in Paris, London, Tokyo and Moscow.

Close friend Mark Shaw, 47, also from Tooting, said he died doing the two things he loved best - cycling and helping others.

He said: “He was a beautiful man, and he would do anything for his mates. He was a gentle giant.”

The Celia Road resident was rushed to hospital after becoming trapped under one of the truck’s wheels, but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Local media reported the truck driver would not face charges.

Mr Hodnett, an interior designer, collected sponsorship for the Lions Foundation of Canada, which provides guide dogs for the blind.

Mr Shaw, a musician who fronted 80s band Then Jerico, said his friend was a great joker who wrote crime novels in his spare time and loved taking on crazy challenges.

Mr Hodnett was the 56th champion in the world for bog snorkelling, a bizarre sport where athletes cycle through a bog with a mask and snorkel.

He was also a big fan of Manchester United, and would often watch games in A Bar 2 Far in Mitcham Road with his three best friends, Mr Shaw, James Downes and Saghir Hussain.

Mr Shaw said: “Once we absailed down a board at Old Trafford for cystic fibrosis. We were singing all the way.

“The Man United four is now the Man United three.”

Mr Hodnett came to London several years ago from his native Ireland, where his ashes will be flown to shortly.

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