Cycle death inspires play

A play inspired by the death of a Northumberland cyclist will aim to highlight the dangers of riding a bike in London.

Eilidh Cairns, of Ellingham, was killed in 2009 after she was knocked down by a lorry while cycling in the capital.

The first permanent ghost bike – sprayed a stark white and with its tyres removed – in London was erected nearby in her memory.

The tragedy has inspired Tamara von Werthern, who passed the crash site on a daily ride to work, to write the play, The White Bike.

Ms von Werthern, who works for a theatre publisher, spoke with Eilidh’s sister Kate Cairns, who lives at Newton-by-the-Sea, and researched evidence provided to the inquest.

She has also been in contact with Libi Bowles, a friend and colleague of Eilidh.

The play has already been showcased at the Arcola Theatre in Hackney. A 15-minute showcase is planned on Wednesday at London’s Queen Mary University.

Ms von Werthern is working with director Oliver Rose to turn it into a full production and hopes it will be accepted by an off-West End theatre, such as the Bush.

Profits will be donated to RoadPeace, the charity for road crash victims.

Kate said: “I was touched, surprised and moved when Tamara contacted me to say she had been inspired by Eilidh to write a play.

“I am delighted and privileged and proud that my sister continues in death what she did so powerfully in life – to leave a long lasting and unforgettable impression on people who come under her sphere of influence.

“It is lovely and apt that Tamara is working on this play with Libi. I hope it touches people’s hearts, just the way Eilidh has always done.”

Ms von Werthern, 36, from Hackney, said she saw many similarities between Eilidh’s life and her own and used it as the basis for her main character, Isabel, who is killed riding to work. She added: “The play highlights the need for things to change so that a senseless death like this one won’t happen in the future.”