The friends of a NHS physiotherapist killed cycling to work performed a conga dance through a London hospital in a joyous celebration of her life.
About 50 former colleagues of Esther Hartsilver held an impromptu dance session – featuring Olympic legend Daley Thompson – in the centre of Chelsea & Westminster hospital to raise funds for charity and promote cycle safety.
The death two months ago of the hugely popular Ms Hartsilver, 32, has led to a series of events being held in her memory by hundreds of former colleagues at three of the capital’s biggest teaching hospitals – Chelsea & Westminster, St George’s and King’s College. Friends at Guy’s & St Thomas’s have also vowed to keep her spirit alive.
Barry Crane, a senior physiotherapist at Chelsea & Westminster and a close friend of Ms Hartsilver, who organised the dance session, said: “I think everyone knew the dangers of cycling in London before it happened to Esther. For me, it’s not a statistic any more because it’s someone you know personally.
“I think we’ve all had incidents – I’ve been knocked off my bike and been lucky it’s not been serious. But when it’s come to the worst case possible with Esther, it’s really hit home about how dangerous cycling is in London, and we need to make some big changes now.”
He added: “You couldn’t possibly say anything bad about Esther. She was a really fun, happy girl. She is a massive loss to everyone who knew her.”
Ms Hartsilver was the sixth of eight cyclists killed in London this year when she was involved in a collision with a Co-op HGV at the junction of Denmark Hill and Orpheus Street on May 28. Medics at King’s College hospital, where she worked, were unable to save her.
More than £2,000 has been raised, with funds being shared between cycle safety initiatives and Parkinson’s UK – Ms Hartsilver’s father died of the disease. There are plans to place a memorial bench in Victoria Park, near where she lived, funded by the sale of “The Spirit of Esther” T-shirts.
Luke McPherson, a physiotherapist at Chelsea and Westminster hospital, described Ms Hartsilver as a “shining star”.
He said: “We are slowly coming through it and trying to be ‘more Esther’ – more happy and kind and energetic.
“She was the life and soul of the party. Her life just lit up the room. I don’t remember Esther being upset. She had a lot of hardship in her life but she was always a happy girl.”
Police today said that inquiries continued into the circumstances of how Ms Hartsilver came by her death. The lorry driver stopped at the scene.