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Tributes to young woman with zest for life

PUBLISHED: 13:30 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:55 07 September 2010

Eilidh Cairns

Eilidh Cairns

Ben McPartland FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to a popular Dartmouth Park woman who died following a lorry accident on her way to work. Eilidh Cairns, 30, died after the collision in Notting Hill Gate just weeks before she was due to start her drea

Ben McPartland

FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to a popular Dartmouth Park woman who died following a lorry accident on her way to work.

Eilidh Cairns, 30, died after the collision in Notting Hill Gate just weeks before she was due to start her 'dream job' as an associate producer for a Kentish Town firm.

Last Thursday's accident happened just before 9am at the height of rush hour. She died a short while later at the Royal London Hospital.

A makeshift shrine with flowers and pink bicycle wheels has since been set up at the scene, with messages left by loved ones.

Ms Cairns, of Kingswear Road, had lived in London since 2000 but was brought up in Northumberland.

Her boyfriend Giles Carlin, 29, said: "Eilidh was my best friend, the most beautiful, intelligent, kind-hearted and joyous person in my life.

"As soon as I met her I knew that I'd never leave her side and I have never been happier than during the time I spent with her. Her smiles and laughter would illuminate grey days and I'm heartbroken that she's no longer with us."

Ms Cairns was a keen cyclist and biked to Chiswick every day where she worked in post production for IMG Media.

She was looking forward to starting a new job closer to home for the world-renowned production company Darlow Smithson Productions, based at the Highgate Studios in Kentish Town.

Ms Cairns loved adventure sports. Only last Monday she was one of the many snowboarders who woke up early and headed to Hampstead Heath to make the most of the heavy snow.

Her sister Kate, 36, said: "Eilidh had such a zest for life. She touched an immense number of people in such a joyous way. She was my beautiful sparkling sister, my best friend and confidante. I want to thank those individuals that went out to her, on that road, at the last flickering of a strong and so well-loved light.

"Eilidh loved the freedom and independence her bike gave her and that going to work that way kept her fit and healthy. She was proud to be one of the many who daily face the risk and reward of cycling through London. The number and generosity of tributes from this community most of whom did not even know her personally have been overwhelming."

Ms Cairns, who studied marine biology at Liverpool University, lived with flatmates Sarah Rogers, 29, Emma Chesterman, 31 and Ros Healy. In a joint tribute, they said: "Eilidh's friends will miss her wise words and huge appetite for life; riding round town, baking cakes and legendary garden parties. Our generous, kind, funny and indomitable friend was amazing."

Ms Cairns is the latest cyclist to lose her life on London's roads. In September last year the Ham&High reported how community campaigner Lisa Pontecorvo, 64, died on Holloway Road after another accident involving a truck.

In December 2006, Emma Foa, a 56-year-old writer from Hampstead, was killed in King's Cross in a collision with a heavy goods vehicle.

Statistics show that around half of all cyclists who die on the capital's roads every year are involved in a collision with a goods vehicle.

Her sister and brothers Mark, 40 and Asher, 34 as well as parents John and Heather will join friends at a celebration of Ms Cairns' life at St Maurice's Church, Ellingham, Northumberland on Tuesday (February 17) at 11am.

A 53-year-old lorry driver was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving but had not been charged as we went to press.


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