Mobility scooter champion Tony dies

Tony Palmer
Tony Palmer

Bubbly character and tireless fund-raiser for the disabled Mr Tony Palmer has died.

Mr Palmer, who was 68, was a familiar face on Burnley’s roads, atop his electric mobility scooter, which he once rode from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back, earning a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

The popular character, who suffered from various ailments throughout his life including epilepsy, died in Pendleside Hospice after a short battle with cancer.

He will forever be remembered as one half of a local double act, alongside friend Geoff West, with whom he raised thousands of pounds for various disability charities.

Born in Hednesford, Staffordshire, Mr Palmer moved to Burnley in the late 1980s with wife Alice, who died in 2012.

His brother-in-law, funeral director John Horan, said: “Tony was a real character. He was very bubbly, loved to play practical jokes, and supported Hednesford Town, but his real passion was fund-raising and he didn’t let his disability stop him.

“Indeed, together with Geoff, he did so much to raise awareness for the disabled and their long-distance rides on mobility scooters became legendary.

“Tony underwent countless operations during his life and he was a real inspiration to everybody who knew him.”

It was September, 2000, when the pair with Peter Baldacchino, rode the gruelling distance of 1,880 miles, the length of the country twice, to raise £10,000 for Burnley Shopmobility.

He leaves children Christine, Catherine and Ann-Marie, step-daughter Marie, eight grandchildren, siblings and one great-grandchild.

Catherine said: “I am very proud to have had such a dad. He was a very kind man who did a lot for charity and loved his family. He also loved animals, particularly dogs, and took in lots of rescue dogs over the years.

“Dad had a great sense of humour and once also completed the Isle of Man TT course on his scooter, and met Norman Wisdom.”

His funeral will be held on Monday, March 10th, when a Requiem Mass will be conducted at St Mary Magdalene’s RC Church at noon followed by interment at Burnley Cemetery at 1pm.