Family's panic race to save Dronfield man in Bulgaria

Colin Parkin died after a motorcycle crash in July, pictured with friend Alison Davies riding through Bulgaria
Colin Parkin died after a motorcycle crash in July, pictured with friend Alison Davies riding through Bulgaria

The family of a free-spirited biker who died in the Summer have told of their panic race to reach him in Bulgaria before he died.

Relatives of the tragic grandad who lost his life in a motorcycle accident in Bulgaria reunited last week from across the globe.

The grandfather died after a motorcycle crash, aged 70.

The grandfather died after a motorcycle crash, aged 70.

They remembered the man who had a lust for life, never strayed from a challenge and in his retirement was still a wild-hearted soul, spending his days motorcycling through Europe and renovating his home in Bulgaria.

Colin Parkin, also known as Grenville, or Gren, grew up in Dronfield.

The much-loved father of three and grandfather of four was known to loved-ones for his vivacious, adventurous nature, and moved to Bulgaria in 2009 after a life always on the move - from Singapore to Cypress, Canada and also eastern Europe. He was with the RAF for nine years, in the 56th Squardon as an engineer and a trained pilot, and retired a senior aircrftman. He then travelled for work with a Dronfield mining company.

And it was after selling his latest venture, a cleaning business, in 2009 that he and partner Sue, emigrated to Bulgaria.

Colin with his daughter Claire and granddaughters Ella and Sloane, 2010.

Colin with his daughter Claire and granddaughters Ella and Sloane, 2010.

His son Stephen, 40, said Gren was on a biker rally to Greece when he suffered a serious accident on the road.

The roofer who lives in Cambridge added: "He was with some Bulgarian friends on the way to the Greek border when he unfortunately came off his bike.

A friend saw a cloud of dust in his wing mirrors, and Gren had reportedly collided with a barrier in a freak accident. He suffered serious spinal injuries and had an operation to protect him from further back break, but died of his injuries 13 days later, on July 30, aged 70.

Stephen added: "It was an emotional panic wrenching journey to get to Bulgaria to visit his dad before he passed away."

Also a keen fisherman, Colin was described by family as 'living life to the fullest'.

Also a keen fisherman, Colin was described by family as 'living life to the fullest'.

And there were concerns over the way he was treated.

“In the ambulance I’m told he was sat upright with spinal injuries, and when we arrived a the hospital we hoped all the funding went into intensive care because it looked like it was bombed. It was quite a macabre scene. They were paranoid about what we were going to do."

Daughter Claire Rothwell said: “From what we are told he was crushed between his touring bike and a concrete barrier, this has never been confirmed because nobody really knows and no police report has been shown to us.

"Getting information on his situation with the language barrier was very hard. We were only told certain things and by the time we had realized either Stephen or I needed to get their it was too late.

Colin Parkin with RAF crewmates, Singapore, 1960s.

Colin Parkin with RAF crewmates, Singapore, 1960s.

"Stephen, his fiance Chloe and my dad's sister Elizabeth were on a flight to Bulgaria and I had to inform them at a lay over in Poland that dad had passed."

A doctor at Sheffield Hallam Hospital, Paul Harrison, had advised the family on options to get him back to the UK for treatment.

"Also in the background our cousin Dr. Zaki Ibrahim who is a doctor in Perth Australia was in constant contact with my fathers doctors getting as much information as he could to keep us up to date and fill in the gaps that the Bulgarian doctors were not giving us," added Claire.

And without the proper medical insurance, the family also had to raise the cash themselves for Gren to receive treatment, including surgery to place two titanium robs to secure his spine.

"I set up a GoFundMe and within days we raised over $5,000 to help with his care.

"So many people donated from family, friends, friends of family and even some people we didn't know. It was amazing."

Also amazingly, Claire was able to say speak to her father before he died over video-chat.

"I got to say my goodbye's over Facetime. Technology can suck but this gave me something I would never have gotten other wise."

Gren died on July 30 without his family with him, and mystery still surrounds the real cause of the death as the family say there will be no inquest.

And now the family have been re-united for a memorial in Unstone which took place on Saturday (November 21)

"It's amazing to think back as I read this and see what we had to deal with as a family...it seems like a comedy of errors but unfortunately it's not. But when I think of all the help we had from so many people all over the world I am amazed. We were very blessed."