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Tributes paid to ‘true gentleman’ bike shop owner who was told he had two weeks to live over 20 years ago

Much loved member of the community Chris Harris owned the former Chris Harris Cycles – now Damian Harris cycles – in Whitchurch.

Tributes have been paid to a former bike shop owner and a popular member of the Cardiff community who was told he had just two weeks to live over 20 years ago. Chris Harris owned Chris Harris Cycles, now Damian Harris Cycles, in the Whitchurch area of the city and raised money for a number of charities following his recovery from cancer.

After working in Halfords, Chris started his bike shop in 1956 when he was just 17 at the Mill Lane Market. He began the business in a 12-by-12 garden shed, working 18-hour days doing up second-hand bikes. People would queue around the block to buy bikes in Chris’s big Friday sales.

The business was a roaring success and moved to Bridge Street for around 30 years, before setting up its current Whitchurch site. Dedicated to his work, Chris worked in the same business for 50 years before he retired in 2006, with Damian taking over as Damian Harris Cycles. Cycle shops have long been in the family, with Chris’s father, Arthur Harris, also having had his own shop in Ely.

READ MORE: Tributes paid to ‘wonderful’ great-grandparents who died just six days apart

Born on August 12, 1939 in Cardiff, Chris initially grew up in Grangetown before moving to Penarth. He was married to his wife, Rita, for 53 years before he passed away. The pair met in the Paget Rooms in Penarth and were married within six months. Chris and Rita had two sons together – Damian and Julian – and he was a doting grandfather to his grandchildren, Emily and Charlie, who helped him plant vegetables on the weekends.

When Damian and Julian were growing up, new bikes were stored in every room of the house, stacked up to the ceiling. «[At] Christmas time, we could not move in our house because of all the bikes,» Damian said, recalling that his mum would often end up with bruises on her legs from knocking into the bikes so often.

On his birthday in 2002, Chris came round from a routine hernia operation only to be told that, while the operation had been a success, doctors had discovered cancer. He was told to prepare himself for just a fortnight to live. Damian said his father made an «unbelievable» recovery.

«He’s like a miracle on two legs,» Damian said of his father. «He had cancer when he was 65 and was only given a couple of weeks, but he managed to fight it through the horrible chemo he had for such a long time and he managed to have another 20 years of life.»

«Every day, and he still said it, right up to the end, he’d say ‘I’m not dead yet’. That was his slogan. Every morning he used to get up and say, ‘Well, I’m not dead yet,» Damian continued. Following his recovery, Chris and his family have given plenty back to cancer charities, with Velindre being among the many that Chris supported.

Speaking of his father, Damian said: «There are no words to describe him. He’s just a wonderful man. He did everything for everyone, rather than doing it for himself. He had the nurses running ragged – they loved him. He was so polite – a true gentleman. I don’t think there’s anyone like him.

Chris was known for his charitable nature and Damian recalls his father reading a story in the newspaper about a young deaf boy who had his bicycle stolen. Working in his father’s shop as a Saturday boy at the time, Damian remembers his father calling the parents of the boy to ask how tall he was, before finding him a bike for free to replace the one that had been stolen.

«He just did everything for everyone, even when he was ill,» Damian said, adding that he would continue to shop for neighbours and look after a local lady, Betty Jenkins, when her husband had passed away. «My dad treated her like she was his own daughter. He was always looking after her – he looked after everybody.»

His charitable nature extended to Christmas Day, where everyone from the local dustman to the gardener would be invited to Christmas lunch, as well as anyone in need. He would also give out wine to everyone from the postman and the gas man to the Amazon delivery driver for their hard work.

«No one had a bad word to say, he was loved by everyone who knew him», Damian said. «He was like a taxi driver for all his friends, taking them to the airport and even looking after their parents. Nothing was too much trouble.» Chris was always early for appointments, Damian said, and hated anyone being late. He enjoyed keeping up with current affairs, watching the news several times a day.

«He never bought anything expensive, he wasn’t that type of person. I’ll never forget, there was a bright yellow Porsche, and he said, ‘I’m gonna have that.’ I said, ‘Dad, if you come home with that, you’ll have a divorce.’ He was a big kid at heart – he liked cars, but he never bought anything crazy. But, that one day, he was gone for a few hours and he went and bought it and drove it back,» Damian said.

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FAA investigating contact between 2 United airplanes on Boston Logan tarmac

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a Monday incident between two United Airlines flights at Boston Logan International Airport, the agency said in a statement to CNN.

“As a tow tug was pushing it back from the gate at Boston Logan International Airport, the right wing of United Airlines Flight 515 struck the tail of United Airlines Flight 267 around 8:30 a.m. local time this morning,” the FAA statement said.

“Both aircraft were Boeing 737s that were scheduled for departure,” the statement added.

has reached out to United Airlines and Massport for more information about the incident.

A sudden jolt’
Passenger Nicholas Leone took a photo after the incident and described to CNN what happened.

“I felt a sudden jolt and look to my right to see that the plane had crashed into the still plane, ” he said. “After seeing the fire trucks and police cars, people were a little rattled. Thankfully everyone was able to offboard quickly.”

Passengers said the incident was a little jarring, according to CNN affiliate WHDH in Boston.

“It was just a pretty big shake,” said passenger Martin Neusch. “While we were on the plane, it just clipped the wings, so the two wings clipped each other on the plane.”

The station said passengers on both planes were rebooked on other flights set for Monday afternoon.

The contact between two aircraft on Monday morning follows a string of five close-call incidents earlier this year, including one at Boston Logan last week.

Air traffic controllers stopped a departing private jet from running into a JetBlue flight as it was coming in to land at Logan last Monday night, according to the FAA.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating that incident.

The two planes involved came within 565 feet (172 meters) of colliding, according to Flightradar24’s preliminary review of its data.

What’s the safest seat on a plane?. Travel asked an aviation expert
The NTSB is also investigating four other runway incursions involving commercial airliners at major US airports this year.

It’s investigating a possible “runway incursion” in Burbank, California, involving Mesa and SkyWest regional airliners.

Three other incidents have occurred at Honolulu, Austin and New York’s JFK airport this year.

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Flambéed pizza thought to have sparked deadly Madrid restaurant fire

A fire believed to have been started by a flambéed pizza has killed two people and injured 12 others at a restaurant in the Spanish capital Madrid, city officials said Saturday.

“It appears the fire started when a flambéed pizza was being served, which set fire to the decorations in the restaurant,” Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez Almeida told Spain’s state television TVE at the scene on Saturday, hours after the late Friday night blaze.

Spanish media reported that a specialty of the restaurant was a pizza in the flambé style – a cooking procedure where spirits are poured on the food and briefly set alight.

“Firefighters told me it was a ferocious fire in the way it started and the smoke it generated, and if the fire station wasn’t just 100 meters (around 330 feet) away, the number of fatalities could have been higher,” said Almeida, speaking to TVE.

Carlos Marin, a Madrid fire department night supervisor, said the restaurant “had just one exit, and since the fire was very close to the door, people went back to the rear of the restaurant, and they were completely trapped,” in videos tweeted by Madrid city emergency services.

The fire was quickly extinguished. Firefighters pulled 12 injured people from the restaurant, and six were taken to a hospital. That was in addition to the two fatalities, said Montse Marcos, a supervisor with the Madrid city ambulance services.

The fire was in the Plaza de Manuel Becerra, on the edge of the Spanish capital’s upscale Salamanca neighborhood.

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As Ukraine prepares counteroffensive, Russia appears in disarray

Ukraine’s much-anticipated counteroffensive appears imminent – and the way each side is preparing speaks volumes about their readiness.

Kyiv’s front lines are abuzz with vehicle movement and artillery strikes, with regular explosions hitting vital Russian targets in occupied areas.

Its defense minister has said preparations are “coming to an end” and President Volodymyr Zelensky has assured a counteroffensive “will happen,” while demurring on any exact start date.

It may have already started; it may be weeks away. We don’t know – and that fact is a strong measure of Ukraine’s success as this begins.

Moscow, on the other hand, is in the closing-time bar brawl stage of their war. After losing Kharkiv and Kherson, they have had at least seven months to ready the next likely target of Ukrainian attack: Zaporizhzhia.

That has happened, with vast trench defense networks that can be seen from space. That recognition of their enormity is not necessarily a compliment in 2023. They are big, yes, but they are also something anyone can peruse on Google. That’s not great in an era of precise rockets and speedy armored advances.

But it’s the last 72 hours that have perhaps most betrayed Russia’s lacking readiness.

First, the apparent firing of the deputy defense minister in charge of logistics, Mikhail Mizintsev. The Russian Ministry of Defense has not spelled out his dismissal, merely issuing a decree that Aleksey Kuzmenkov now has his job.

(A caveat: Prigozhin is not the most trustworthy source, and provides little evidence for what he says. But this sort of public spat isn’t something Moscow would encourage at this sensitive moment).

Russia’s eroding ammunition supplies were long known, but to suggest imminent failure just ahead of the counteroffensive smacks of a major bid to shift blame.

The bottom line is, the hours before Ukraine moves are shrinking. The amount we know about their emotional state, or target, is almost zero. And the extent of Moscow’s internal indecision, rivalries and disunity only grows.

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