Midlands entrepreneur dies in cycling crash

2010-07-05 00:00

THE KZN midlands cycling community has been shocked by the death of prominent entrepreneur and midlands resident Justin McCarthy in a cycling accident on the Curry’s Post road on Friday evening.

He was 52.

McCarthy, a well-known and active member of the cycling and mountain biking fraternity, was hard at work training for a cycling trip in Nepal.

He was the owner of Groundcover, which manufactures leather footwear and accessories. He was also a key player in the Midlands Meander Association (MMA).

It is understood that McCarthy was struck head-on by a security company vehicle while cycling on the Curry’s Post road.

The family was not ready to comment at the time of going to press.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker told The Witness that a case of culpable homicide has been opened.

Jeff Wicks of Netcare911 said it is assumed that McCarthy’s death was instantaneous.

A close family friend, Lloyd Rowlands, described McCarthy as a legend in the KZN midlands.

McCarthy and his wife Amanda have four children — daughters Bronwyn, Frances and Holly, and a son, Daniel.

“Justin was a hippie at heart. He was also passionate about Nguni cattle. This guy did not have an enemy in the world. He was loved by everyone who knew him. Hundreds of people relied on him for one thing or another, particularly workers who had skills. He helped many skilled workers get on their feet. He helped the people of the midlands, but his help also extended to people from Lesotho, Swaziland and even Zimbabwe,” Rowlands said.

He added: “Justin was instrumental in getting a lot of mountain biking and cycling initiatives going in the midlands. He was undergoing extra training after he snapped his Achilles tendon about 18 months ago. He was busy with extra training in order to ride in the Himalayas.”

McCarthy and his wife established Groundcover Leather Company in 1990. The company operates in Curry’s Post.

McCarthy previously served as an MMA board member and was most recently appointed as an MMA elder tasked with overseeing the board.

He was also one of only a handful of people to be awarded the MMA’s “butterfly award” for his service and dedication to the organisation.

MMA chairperson Rob Shuttleworth told The Witness that McCarthy was a highly respected businessman in the midlands, adding that his vision for the MMA was a critical element of the organisation’s success.

He said McCarthy was involved in the development of the MMA’s “a good place ” tagline, as well as the MMA’s brand development, together with Nikki Brighton, who is the head of the MMA’s education project.

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