ONE OF the UK's oldest paperboys has been forced to take early retirement after a collision with a car threw him from his bicycle at Hayle.
Jim English, 70, of Angarrack, has been doing the 11-mile Towans and Connor Downs newspaper round six days a week for the past 27 years.
But last Wednesday, the man who can lay claim to helping to create the iconic Chopper bike, was involved in an accident on the Loggan's Moor roundabout, while on his way to work at the Ark Newsagents in Hayle.
The septuagenarian was rushed to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Truro, where staff had to dig gravel out of his face and patch up his crushed ankle and bruised shoulder.
The force of the landing split his helmet and Mr English said he was very lucky to have been wearing one.
He said: "I would advise anybody with a bike to wear a helmet because that smash on my head would have been very serious without it."
Luckily, Mr English was allowed home the same day and is now recovering but he was more worried about the other person in the accident: "I feel sorry for the girl in the car, she wasn't very old," he said.
Mr English, who started doing the round in his forties, had planned to retire next month but the accident means he has had to stop prematurely.
"I haven't been doing it man and boy like they say, it has been old man and man," he said. "I would have been a bit upset on my last day, so at least I didn't have to suffer that.
"The reason I was retiring was not because I wanted to slow down but because I wanted to speed up."
Mr English, who moved to Angarrack in 1982, worked for motor companies including Ford and Citröen. He was also employed by Ogle Design and was one of those asked by Alan Oakley from Raleigh for style inspiration for the Seventies' classic Chopper.
After buying a racing bike last year, Mr English is itching to get out of his cast and back in the saddle.
Chris Millard, who runs the Ark Newsagents, said he did Mr English's round one last time last Thursday and wrote to all the customers to say it would be finishing.
He said: "It is not feasible for us to get a schoolboy to do it and it is not cost effective to do it in the car because it would take us more than an hour."
Mr Millard added that his employee would be greatly missed by staff at the shop and the customers he served.
"People like him don't exist any more. He loved the job and he was a pleasure to be with."
Even after 27 years, Mr English added that he enjoyed being a paper boy.
He said: "It must be one of the best, most beautiful and longest rounds done by one of the oldest people."