Tributes to high street mechanic known as a 'local legend'
- Credit: Archant
A "local legend" from Hopton has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Howard Shepherdson, known to many as "Shep", of Station Road, Hopton-on-Sea died aged 59 on Friday, April 16.
Mr Shepherdson was a well-known businessman, owning the Save 'N' Drive on Gorleston High Street for 26 years.
He was also a former parish councillor for Hopton-on-Sea, "much-loved" prankster and a loving husband, brother, father and grandfather.
"Howard was a joker, that’s for sure," said Sharon Shepherdson, his widow.
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"He was always being silly for photos, or getting into funny situations - like making a mansion of a swing set for our granddaughter."
Mr Shepherdson's twin sister, Elizabeth Horsley said: "You couldn’t go anywhere with him where he didn't know someone.
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"Wherever he went - from Yarmouth to Norwich to Dubai - he knew someone."
Mr Shepherdson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November 2019.
"He always had so much control before. When we were told it was incurable, he was beside himself.
"Howard always looked outside the box and after a lot of research, he came across the NanoKnife procedure in Florida."
The Shepherdson family started a GoFundMe campaign for Howard to have the private treatment in America.
Mr and Mrs Shepherdson were able to go after the campaign raised over £20,000.
While there, Mr and Mrs Shepherdson suffered a few setbacks including both contracting Covid-19 and Mr Shepherdson was discovered to have had a blood clot.
He was operated on in November last year, and he and Mrs Shepherdson returned home in time for Christmas.
"We had a very good Christmas. He was tired – he kept saying he felt knackered – but he was in good spirits spending time with his grandchildren," Mrs Shepherdson said.
The family man felt fit enough to begin DIY projects around the house at the start of this year, but quickly began to feel unwell.
"Howard’s feet and stomach began to swell," Mrs Shepherdson continued. "The fluid was biopsied and it was discovered that the cancer cells were in the fluid – Howard was rife with it."
The Shepherdson family were told of the diagnosis on Tuesday, April 13.
Mr Shepherdson passed away at home on Friday, April 16.
Mr Shepherdson leaves behind his wife, Sharon, his sisters, Elizabeth and Susan, his son and daughter, Aaran and Sarah, and his granddaughters, Liberty, Aubree, Ellenie and Freya.
The funeral will be on Monday, May 17, in Hopton.
Cars will be arriving at 10:30am and the service is at 11am in St Margaret's Church, Hopton.
Mrs Shepherdson said: "We would like all his family and friends to join us on Station Road, Hopton-on-Sea as Howard makes his way to the church.
"Afterwards, we’re going to have a party in Hopton park.
Attendees are encouraged to bring picnics and observe social distancing.
Hopton parish council will be opening the public toilet for visitors.
Mr Shepherdson's son, Aaran, said: "Days before he passed away, he told me he was proud of me.
"I told him I was proud of him as well - if I could be half the father he was, I’d be doing alright."
The family would like to say a big thank you to everyone who made donations for Howard’s treatment last year.
If anyone would like to send flowers, please send them to 27a Station Road, Hopton-on-sea, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR319AH.
The Shepherdson family would also like to say thanks to the James Paget University Hospital, especially staff on the ambulatory bay and ward 3 and his consultant on that ward. The East Coast Community Nurses and the Palliative Care nurses were "fantastic", Mrs Shepherdson said.