Tributes to one-armed mechanic Gordon Walker who defied the odds to the very end (From St Helens Star)
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Tributes to one-armed mechanic Gordon Walker who defied the odds to the very end
7:00pm Thursday 27th September 2012 in News
GORDON Walker was aged 17 when one of his arms was ripped off in a coal mining accident.
At the time doctors feared that he would die and, even when he pulled through, it was predicted that he faced a life on the scrapheap.
However, what those who wrote him off had not counted on was his determination to prove people wrong.
This inner steel was something which was evident in his life for half a century, helping him to mould a highly respected mechanical business, GW Motors, until his final days battling asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma.
Mourners recently gathered at St James Church in Haydock to say their farewells to Gordon, who died aged 74.
Now Hilda, his wife of 48 years, has shared the remarkable story of how her husband defied the odds.
She said: “When he lost his arm they said he probably wouldn’t do anything – but he was one of those blokes who liked to prove people wrong.
“Just over a month ago a doctor told him he only had another week to live – he said ‘I will show him’ and he stayed with us for another month – that is what he was like.
“He was just 17 when he was down the pit and his fingers got caught in machine. It was dragging his whole body in, and so he actually had to snap his own arm off to save himself.
“He then had to run three miles to raise the alarm and when doctors treated him they expected he would die because of the coal dust that had got inside the wound.
“It was when he was in hospital that he saw people worse off than him and he decided he was not going to lie down to it.”
Gordon would rarely wear a prosthetic arm, added Hilda.
He unfairly got in bother at the Plaza nightclub, In Duke Street, as a young man after a group starting picking on him, and vowed not to use it again.
But the disability did not prevent him from becoming a skilled one-armed mechanic, and establishing his own business in Millfield Lane, Haydock, where his son Mark, now aged 45, trained up to work at the family firm.
Hilda added: “He had a cracking name around Haydock.
“He valued his customers and would always say ‘I drive a car and knows the cost of running it’.
“He was a hard-working man and was determined to make a good life for me and his son. He always said we would never want for anything.”