A BUBBLY and fun-loving chip shop owner from Burnley has died following a freak accident while on holiday in Egypt.
Mr Ken Hankinson (65), of Birds chip shop in Rosegrove, died in hospital on Sunday days after suffering a bleed on the brain when he slipped and fell down some steps at his hotel in the resort of Sharm El Sheikh.
The surprise trip had been organised by Mr Hankinson’s wife Julie to celebrate his 65th birthday on January 25th.
He had been staying with Julie, his son David and a friend. The group had returned to their hotel after a celebratory meal when the tragedy happened.
Mrs Hankinson’s best friend Mrs Debbie Burrows said: “He was given CPR at the scene but Ken had had a massive bleed on his brain and he never regained consciousness.”
In another devastating blow his family have been told it could be weeks before his body is flown back to the UK because of rioting in the streets of Cairo.
Due to red tape Mr Hankinson’s body must first be taken to the British Embassy in the capital before it can be repatriated, but until the current violent scenes have come to an end Mrs Hankinson has been told that it is unlikely to happen.
Instead she has been forced to make the agonising choice to return to Burnley without her husband.
“Julie and David are devastated,” said Mrs Burrows, who has been in touch with Mrs Hankinson every day since the accident.
“This is the sort of thing you read about in the papers. It doesn’t happen to you, it happens to other people.”
Mrs Hankinson and her son were due to return home to Burnley last night.
“They don’t know when Ken will be coming home. The authorities said one of them could travel to Cairo with his body but they have decided to come home.
“She didn’t want to leave him but it could be next week or it could be three or four weeks because of everything that’s going on. She can’t sort anything out until he comes home.”
Originally from Manchester and a keen Manchester United fan, Mr Hankinson was secretary of the Railway Club in Rosegrove.
He moved to Burnley around 15 years ago when he bought the chip shop and became a popular face around Rosegrove.
An avid cricket fan, Mr Hankinson was also a sponsor at Lowerhouse Cricket Club.