Oakworth man left severely disabled has died, aged 43.

John Whitaker and son, Stewart, with the nursing team that looked after him,

John Whitaker and son, Stewart, with the nursing team that looked after him,

First published in News

An Oakworth man left severely disabled after being run down by a drunk driver 14 years ago has died, aged 43.

Stewart Whitaker passed away at home after a lung infection.

His father and carer, 74-year-old John Whitaker, said Stewart had been a “lovely, friendly, generous person”.

Stewart was mown down when he was 29, while working in London. The accident meant he was confined to bed and could not walk or speak.

He also leaves behind his sister, Ellen, and brother, Robert. Ellen, who also lives in Oakworth, said: “As a man, our brother was very talented. He acquired his skills with a quiet determination, and had a natural aptitude for mechanics and joinery.

“He possessed an air of excitement, unpredictability and cheer and we never quite knew what he was going to do next. That was the essence of him – a free spirit who didn’t always conform.”

Stewart was born in Keighley and educated at Oakbank School. He completed a motor engineering apprenticeship, before moving to Los Angeles for two years, where he worked with cars and fitted kitchens.

On his return to England, he got a job with a company that refurbished pubs and hotels. He was employed as a site manager on the day he was badly injured.

His father said: “On the day the accident happened, he had phoned me to ask if I could put in an offer on his behalf for a house in Oakworth. But that was the last time he was able to speak to me.”

Mr Whitaker said that in the years that followed, Stewart required intensive care and survived periodic health crises.

The family was assisted by a team of visiting district nurses from Kilmeny Surgery, whose work to help look after Stewart was highlighted in the Keighley News last December. Mr Whitaker said the nurses’ dedication deserved recognition.

The funeral was due to take place at Oakworth Crematorium on Tuesday afternoon.

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