THE family of a popular and dedicated cyclist have paid tribute to him after he “died doing what he loved”.

Nick Millar, of Coniscliffe Road, in Darlington, was on a cycle ride through the Northumbrian countryside, when he died unexpectedly last month.

The father of four, who had recently celebrated his 60th birthday, was known by many for his epic rides with Darlington cyclists, having taken up the sport in his 40s, and he had completed the formidable Cent Cols Challenge six times – 100 ‘cols’ or mountain passes in 10 days.

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He was also a keen guitar player, respected wealth management adviser and much-loved figure within his church.

Phil Deeker, the organiser of the event dubbed ‘the hardest amateur cycling ride in the world’, is organising a memorial ride to coincide with his birthday on September 20 next year.

He said: “Nick was never shy of taking on a big challenge, but no matter how hard the going got he always had a place in his heart for his co-riders.

“He was an experienced rider at these events, so he could help the other riders and give them advice.”

Born in Glasgow as the second of five children, Mr Millar was educated at Fettes College in Edinburgh and then at Durham University, where he studied maths.

It was in his first year as a maths teacher that he met his wife, Kate, who was then training to be a teacher.

They married in 1984 and had four daughters – Abigail, Rebecca, Stephanie and Suzanna– before moving to Darlington in 1988.

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It was during his time in the town that he changed his career focus and became a financial adviser, beginning at Kendall White, later Kendall White Millar, and establishing Ashburn Wealth Management in 2008.

“We are glad that this year, we had chance to make so many memories with our Dad,” said his daughter, Abi.

“He was truly happy and fulfilled in life with an irrepressible sense of fun, and he went out on a really high note.”

Mr Millers’ family said when he was in his 40s – joking that he needed to escape his four teenage daughters – he took up marathon running, achieving a personal best time of 2:52 at the age of 45.

Faced with a running injury, he moved onto road biking, making great friends at Darlington Cycling Club.

He also sponsored his own cycling team, many of whom will be wearing the Ashburn kit at the funeral.

Katie, Mr Millar’s wife, said: “Cycling, however, was only one facet of Nick’s life.

“He will be remembered more broadly for his cheeky sense of humour, his love of a good debate, and his deep-rooted kindness, which led him towards a wide range of charitable work.

“His recent 60th birthday celebrations made for an unforgettable evening, with music and entertainment from friends and family.

“Nick loved to give to various charities throughout his life, and would be delighted if, in lieu of flowers, friends donated to a charity of their own choice.”

A service will take place at Darlington Crematorium at 2:15pm on Friday, December 14, followed by a celebration of his life at the Kings Centre.