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Tributes to Sprowston man after brave battle with leukaemia

PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 June 2011

Landrover owner and father of two Nigel Mallett, who died from leukaemia, is taken to his funeral in a stretched Landrover hearse from his home in Sprowston.; Photo by Simon Finlay

Landrover owner and father of two Nigel Mallett, who died from leukaemia, is taken to his funeral in a stretched Landrover hearse from his home in Sprowston.; Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant © 2011; 01603 772434

A classic car and bike enthusiast from Sprowston who lost his brave fight for life a year after being diagnosed with leukaemia has been given a special send off by his heartbroken family and friends.

Nigel Mallett, 64, who died from myeloid leukaemia in hospital on June 10, completed his final journey in a stretch Land Rover limousine which led a cortege of classic cars to Horsham St Faith’s Crematorium.

Yesterday’s emotional journey, which started from his home in Allens Avenue, off Wroxham Road, was organised by his wife Sarah who today paid tribute to her husband of 45 years who she described as a “man of kindness and determination”.

She said: “He enjoyed life to the full. He never let anything get in his way. It took him two or three days to do it, but he would do it and never moaned about anything and just took it all in his stride.

“He used to say he was a billy no mates, but we’ve got more than 200 cards - he touched a lot of people.”

Mr Mallett, a former carpenter and joiner who bought his first Land Rover in 2002, used to run a DIY shop in North Walsham but retired at the age of 52 and spent his retirement doing odd jobs to help people out.

But in June last year his life was turned upside down after he was diagnosed with leukaemia and told he just had weeks to live before being offered a trial treatment which involved having two 25 doses of chemotherapy 10 days apart.

Mrs Mallett said: “He said absolutely because if it doesn’t help him it might help other people.”

Following the treatments Mr Mallett did go into remission but in order to fully eradicate the disease he needed a stem cell transplant which are used to treat cancers that are in the bone marrow.

Mr Mallett’s age meant the only suitable donor for the transplant was his brother Tom who unfortunately was not a match.

But despite the news that there was nothing else that could be done, Mr Mallett continued to approach life with the same zest and humour that he had before the disease struck.

Mrs Mallett said her husband attended hospital appointments in bright Hawaiian shirts and joked with the doctors that if they made him bleed they would not see the blood because “it would clash with the shirt”.

As well as cars Mr Mallett also liked bikes and attended the Classic Car Show at Anglian Windows earlier this month the day before he was admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital for the last time.

Mrs Mallett, who thanked doctors and hospital staff for their care, said her husband also enjoyed gardening, fishing and wildfowling - or missing ducks as she put it.

There were no flowers at yesterday’s funeral, but family and friends were urged to make donations to the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Mr Mallett leaves his wife, children Sam and Matt and granddaughter Sequoia.

Would you like to pay tribute to a loved one? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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