James “Jimi” Heselden, owner of Segway Inc., died last month at the wheels of his own device. While riding an off-road version of his company’s Segway personal transport system, Heselden fell off a cliff. After an eighty foot fall into the River Wharfe, Heselden was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. The Police do not suspect foul play. They are investigating whether the scooter malfunctioned or whether it was operator error.
Heselden, who started work at age 15 as a coal miner, was the inventor of the HESCO bastion. Originally designed for erosion and flood control, the devices ultimately became a staple for U.S. military installations in Iraq and NATO bases in Afghanistan. They are effective shields against small-arms fire and explosive blasts.
The Leeds, West Yorkshire born entrepreneur made a fortune through government contracts. His wealth was estimated at £166 million. He has given a vast amount of his own fortune to charity. In fact, he has given £23 Million in total.
The Yorkshire Post recently quoted Heselden as saying, “Life turned out pretty well for me, but I still work in the same area where I grew up and every day I see people who for whatever reason are down on their luck.”
Remembering where he came from, Heselden set up funds to help laid off miners and their families near his hometown. He has also given liberally to help wounded soldiers.
His death comes on the heels of his recent donation of £10 million to set up a new multiple sclerosis research center in Edinburgh.
Heselden died on his estate while using his Segway to check the grounds.
Jimi Heselden, Wikipedia.org
Sarah Freeman, The man who gave £23m of his fortune to charity, Yorkshire Post