A grieving wife has thanked the emergency crews who rushed to the rescue after her husband collapsed dying at the wheel of their car.
Retired hospital worker Ron Heap (56), of Salthill Road, Clitheroe, was driving his wife Daphne to a darts match at Clitheroe when their Peugeot car began to veer to one side in Whalley Road last Thursday evening.
Mrs Heap grabbed the wheel and managed to pull the car on to the verge, where it collided at low speed with a metal post.
Mr Heap, who had suffered a stroke, was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital but died.
Mrs Heap said: “When the car started to veer I said to Ron: ‘What are you doing?’ then I noticed his face had fallen on side and he wasn’t moving.
“I pulled the wheel and managed to get the car on the verge. I was phoning for the ambulance and two men and a woman all stopped and came up to help. One was a lad from Tesco, but I don’t know who the others were.
“Only a few moments later an ambulance came past with the blue lights flashing.
“They must have already been dealing with another emergency, but the paramedics stopped for us and did all they could for Ron. They couldn’t have done any more, and I want to let them know how grateful I am to them.
“I wasn’t injured, but I was badly shaken up. I’d had a really lucky escape.
“There was a police officer who came to the hospital with me, PC Neil Haddock, and he was very supportive, and the nurses at the hospital were very good to me.”
Mr Heap, originally from Blackburn, had been a bus mechanic for Blackburn Transport, and moved to Clitheroe about 18 years ago for his job.
He worked as a porter and driver at Brockhall and later Calderstones before retiring early through illness that affected his mobility.
“He was an outgoing man who liked company and a joke, and he’d do anything for anybody.
“He really was one of the best,” said Mrs Heap, who is a support worker for a special needs charity.
“He liked his darts and dominoes at The Dog pub, and although he couldn’t walk far he liked to go out with his dogs, Maddy and Paddy.”
Mr Heap is also survived by his mother, Margaret and sister Sandra, who lives in Blackburn, and twin brother Ken, who lives in Portsmouth.
His widow is asking for any donations in his memory to be made to Cancer Research.
Funeral arrangements are being made for cremation next week.