A devastated family have paid tribute to a 22-year-old student killed in a motorcycle accident in Thailand.
Duncan Whittaker, of Blackburn Road, Great Harwood, was on a three-week holiday with a friend when tragedy struck.
Duncan was heading back to his hotel on a hired motorcycle when he was involved in an accident with another bike, whose rider also died.
His family were then faced with a £4,000 undertaker’s bill to bring him back home.
But thanks to friends, family and the local community who clubbed together to raise the money, his body was flown home on Tuesday night.
Friends and family gathered at the Cross Axes pub for a fundraiser and Duncan’s devastated mum Sheila thanked everyone for pulling together.
Sheila said: “People have been brilliant, complete strangers as well as his friends and employers and people at his university have got involved and it’s made it easier.
“We didn’t know what to do or where to start to get him back on British soil. We didn’t know if we’d see him again. It was horrific.”
Checco’s restaurant in Great Harwood is also fundraising for Duncan.
The fundraising effort was started by the family of Rease Foley, a long-time friend of Duncan’s who was on holiday with him in western Thailand.
Duncan, who died on February 4, was a former Great Harwood Primary and Norden High School pupil and was studying sustainable construction at Blackburn College. Sheila said her son was an ‘adrenaline junkie’ with a keen interest in cycling who was close to his family.
She added: “He was always out timing himself on his bicycle, canoeing – you name it. He’d been to Kenya and Florida as well. He wasn’t going to tell me he was going to Thailand until the day he left because he thought it would be funny – that’s what he was like. He made friends everywhere he went.”
Duncan leaves mum Sheila, dad Michael, siblings Sophie, Natalie and Luke, half-brother Paul, nieces and nephews Evie, Dylan, Deacon, Layla and Rhys and his beloved dog Mr Ben.
His funeral will be held on Wednesday, February 26 with a service at St Wulstan’s RC Church at 12.30pm followed by burial at Great Harwood Cemetery at 1.30pm and then food at the Victoria Hotel, Butcher Brig.
The family have asked mourners not to wear dark colours to the funeral.
A fundraising cake sale will also be held at Morrisons in Great Harwood on Saturday, February 22 from 9am.
Sheila says further funds raised in Duncan’s name will be used for local youth-related projects to be decided by the community.