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West Belfast priest thanks those who came to his aid when he collapsed during bike ride

Fr Martin Magill has thanked all those who came to his aid when he collapsed during a bike ride in west Belfast
Marie Louise McConville

A POPULAR west Belfast priest has thanked all those who came to his aid when he collapsed during a bike ride at the weekend.

Fr Martin Magill, who is parish priest of St John's on the Falls Road, had taken advantage of the good weather on Saturday by going out for a bike ride.

However, as the 59-year-old was making his way up through the Falls Park, he began to feel "woozy" and got off his bike, walked for a time and later sat down.

He then made his way out on to the top of the Whiterock Road.

The last thing the cleric remembers is pressing the button to cross the road.

Having passed out, when he came round, a number of people, including a nurse who works at the Mater Hospital, had come to his aid and called an ambulance.

Someone had also used his phone to contact his parish to inform them about what had happened.

Fr Magill was taken to the Royal Victoria where he was assessed.

Medics believe he may have passed out because he was dehydrated, coupled with exertion, as he had not been out on his bike for a time due to the bad weather, and was also wearing multiple layers.

Fr Magill was placed on a drip for a time before he was discharged on Saturday evening.

Spending the day resting yesterday he said he was indebted to all those who had helped him.

"It has been a really, really lovely experience," he told The Irish News.

"From private messages to messages on Twitter and Facebook. It has been an affirming experience".

Fr Magill said he was particularly pleased that his bike and bag, which contained his camera, headphones and journal, were left untouched at the scene until they were picked up.

"I am feeling better," he said.

"I wouldn't say I am completely there yet. There is still a bit of fuzziness in my head.

"I had the experience of the good samaritan. People didn't pass by me. My bike and bag were undisturbed for a number of hours.

"The two ambulance guys were really, really good."

Earlier he posted a picture of himself on Twitter from the hospital in response to another tweet about positive experiences in the health service saying: "Yesterday I tweeted this, today I'm able to speak from direct experience."

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