Sean Phillips tributes: Family mourn death of dedicated charity fundraiser
A FATHER of two who died after falling into Bristol's floating harbour has been hailed by his family as a loving husband and dedicated charity fundraiser.
Family and friends of Sean Phillips will gather at his funeral this week after the tragic accident which saw him lose control of his bicycle and collide with the Balmoral near the Prince Street Bridge.
Mr Phillips, who was born with the same condition as paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius, was training for a charity bike ride to Amsterdam when he lost his life.
The healthy 40-year-old's front wheel got caught in the dockside rail tracks and he hit the Balmoral, knocking him unconscious, before he plunged into the freezing water close to the M shed museum.
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As reported in The Post at the time, despite the best efforts of two passers-by who jumped in to pull Mr Phillips to safety, he was found by paramedics unconscious and not breating and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Phillips was cycling from his home in Backwell to Aztec West, where he worked as a procurement manager for Everything Everywhere, on the morning of the accident on March 6.
He had left home at 6.30am for the 17.5-mile ride as part of his training for the Kent to Amsterdam trip in May.
The trip to Holland was aimed at raising money to give disabled children the chance to enjoy sport.
Mr Phillips' own history of disability and the achievements of Paralympians at London 2012 had inspired Sean to raise funds for Get Kids Going. His exemplary life will be remembered at his funeral this Thursday.
Partner Hayley Liddle has described him as a generous and kind father who "couldn't have done more" for his family, friends and two children, Callum, 11, and Toby, 7.
His mother and father, Angela and Paul, added how proud they were of a man who dedicated his life to others.
On the day of his accident, Sean had almost doubled his goal of raising £1,500. Strangers to Sean, inspired by his story, were still donating and leaving messages of support on his wall.
Sean's mother Angela told The Post she would encourage people to keep donating ahead of his funeral to a cause that would "make him happy".
She said: "We are so proud of what he was doing, raising money for his children's charity. At least it will all be in his memory now. It's something that Sean has left behind."
Hayley, his partner of 18 years, said Sean was a "warm, genuine" man.
"People just took to him," she said. "He was renowned for going out of his way to help his friends and was more than once picked as a best man.
"Nothing was too much, nothing was too big an ask for him – he would always give 100 per cent. He couldn't have done more."
On Sean's Justgiving donation website he said his own struggle with Fibular Hemimelia, the same condition as South African runner Oscar Pistorius, had driven him to dedicate his time and money to the national Get Kids Going Charity.
He added that successful Paralympians had encouraged him further.
He said: "Their sheer guts, drive and determination to succeed despite their disabilities really inspired and encouraged me (despite all my fears) to take part in this challenging cycle ride to raise money to give all disabled children the opportunity to participate in sport for just enjoyment or to fulfil their dreams of maybe representing Team GB at the next Paralympic Games."
He added: "For those of you that know me well you will understand that this is an enormous challenge for me and I will need to sweat blood and tears for the next three months to prepare myself both physically and mentally for the ride.
"Yes I'm extremely nervous about this challenge, but I know these children need our support, so the pain and suffering I go through over the three days will all be worth it. Please dig deep and give every pound you can."
Chief executive of the Get Kids Going charity Jane Emmerson told The Post of her sadness at the "terrible and tragic" accident and sent her condolences to Sean's family.
She added: "We can see what this meant to Sean and we would be delighted to take the donations he received and give it to a child in need of support."
To donate in memory of Sean's life visit www.justgiving.com/Sean-Phillips3.