The wife of a former Kingston black cab driver has paid tribute to her husband who died after a year-long battle with cancer.

Great-grandfather Patrick Healey died on Friday, January 3 aged 84 after his bladder cancer spread.

His wife Eileen Healey, to whom he was married to for more than 60 years, called him a lovely man who loved food and racing.

She said: “He was lovely – a wonderful person. He loved life, people, kids. I will miss him being here. He loved food – anything fried. He liked ratatouille and pasta but he was not very good at cooking.

“He loved racing – if he could get to the races that was a good day for him.”

The couple tied the knot at Norbiton Register Office in 1948 and went on to have four children, 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren after they moved into their family home in Cambridge Gardens in Kingston.

They enjoyed line dancing and going up to the Isle of Wight. Patrick was born in Kingston and had 11 other older siblings.

He was a pupil at St Agatha’s Catholic Primary School in Kingston and later a schoolboy at Richard Challoner School in New Malden.

He worked initially as a market stallholder in Kingston selling flowers in the Market Place outside Woolworths with his three sisters, then in rubbish collection, mixing cement and then as a 131 bus driver.

He later settled into work as a black cab driver for 31 years and was commended for his commitment to the job after 30 years.

His daughter Julie Hedges said: “I have got lots of fond memories of him. He was well loved by absolutely everybody. When he was a black cab driver he would take people home at no charge sometimes. It was always for other people.

“He will be missed by a lot of people.”

The funeral will be held at Kingston Crematorium at 1pm on Tuesday, January 14.