A PROMINENT community figure died as a result of his injuries when his car veered into the path of a Tesco delivery vehicle in the Yorkshire Dales, an inquest has heard.

Gerald Long, 84, former president of the Aireborough Historical Society who was also associated with Yeadon Methodist Church and Aireborough Rotary Club, was travelling south along the A65 between Ingleton and Clapham at 3.49pm on September 14 last year after visiting a cousin.

The inquest held at Skipton Magistrates' Court heard Mr Long, from Guiseley, who suffered from coronary heart disease may have had a medical incident which caused his blue Ford Fiesta to drift into the path of the Tesco van travelling in the opposite direction, but medical evidence could not determine this.

Mr Long was airlifted to the Royal Preston Hospital but his condition, which was not regarded as serious initially, deteriorated and he died at 8.30pm that evening.

David Keeler, who was driving the Tesco van, said he was unable to get out of the way and Mr Long's car.

"I saw the blue car drift across the white lines and into my path. It crashed straight into my driver's side at the front. I braked hard and tried to move to the left to get out of the way but there was nowhere to go," said Mr Keeler.

Kerry Pilkington, who was travelling a short distance behind Mr Long said he was driving in front of a Volkswagen T5 van with kayaks on the roof. She said she saw the Fiesta veer to the right and into the path of the Tesco van.

She stopped and attended to Mr Long who appeared to be in shock.

"I tried to comfort him and reassured him that help was on its way," she said in a statement.

Paul Melling, the T5 driver, said he had been following the Fiesta for a few miles and there had not been a problem. Mr Long had been travelling at around 40 mph.

"He drifted about half way across the road before hitting the van. It was a straight stretch of road," he said.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service attended to cut Mr Long out of his vehicle.

Paramedics at the scene said an air ambulance was called and he was handed over to Royal Preston Hospital at around 6.10pm.

Dr Eamon Chundy, based in A&E said Mr Long had a rapid pulse and complained of chest and pelvic pain

However, his condition deteriorated and his blood pressure dropped. He died peacefully at 8.29pm.

A post-mortem examination found he had suffered right side fractures and internal bleeding and died from multiple injuries. Coronary heart disease was also identified and there was evidence of fibrosis scaring from a previous heart attack though he had been given the all clear to drive by his GP.

Assistant coroner for North Yorkshire Jonathan Heath recorded a verdict that Mr Long had died from multiple injuries as a consequence of a blunt force impact as a result of a road traffic collision and with an 'underlying' coronary heart disease condition.

Mr Long's family started a fundraising page soon after his death and also organised a concert and raised around £7,500 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance charity.

His daughter, Jacqueline Stead said: “Dad was an active member of the community and was involved in many organisations. We were grateful the YAA sent out an air ambulance to help him and we wanted to raise money to pay them back."