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Tributes paid to former international blind golfer from Homerton who died on plane

PUBLISHED: 10:36 30 January 2014 | UPDATED: 10:36 30 January 2014

Steve and Maureen Ford

Steve and Maureen Ford

Archant

Tributes have been paid to a blind golfer who died suddenly on a plane travelling to the Indian Ocean.

Steve Ford, 70, of Coopersale Road, Homerton, died last Friday on his way to Mauritius with his wife of 33 years, Maureen, for a holiday.

Mr Ford suffered from Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy which affected his eyes and bones, and suffered a suspected heart attack is his sleep on a flight from Heathrow Airport.

Attempts to resuscitate him failed and he was pronounced dead on the plane.

‘Pavement counsellor’

He was an early member of the English Blind Golf Association, and played for England all over the world during his career, winning trophies as an individual and team member.

Mrs Ford, who returned to the UK with her husband’s body on Friday, said: “We had hoped that the sun would make him better as it had in the past. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

“My Steve was a wonderful man. The grief is very raw.

“Steve was a committed Christian, who believed in putting his faith into practice. He was a great believer in family and inclusion, and his family called him the ‘pavement counsellor’.

“He became famous for his listening ear and the good advice he gave to neighbours each time he set foot outside the door.

“Although blind, Steve had twinkling eyes and a dry wit, and loved singing though the actual lyrics to songs did not seem to matter.”

Friend and retired journalist John Greenwood, of Victoria Park Road, Victoria Park, said: “He was a great guy – a really friendly person. He started off life in a perfectly normal healthy way. When he was about 20 he lost his sight.”

Mr Ford was working as a car mechanic when he lost his sight.

Following rehabilitation, he went into the furniture trade and later worked for Harrods and English piano manufacturer Broadwood and Sons before moving to the Inner London Education Authority as a piano tuner and lecturer.

Mr amd Mrs Ford had no children but founded an extended family after being inspired by Nelson Mandela’s Rainbow Nation speech, celebrating a multi-cultural and multi-racial society in South Africa. This consisted of four children and four grandchildren. He is survived by them and his sister Bernice Venables.

n A funeral will be held at St Luke’s Church, Homerton Terrace, Homerton, on Monday at 12.30pm.


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