Get well soon.


Lantern Swinger
Not a happy one, I'm afraid, made all the worse by the circumstances and the time of year.

A SECOND World War veteran from Tottington is fighting for his life after being mown down by a hit-and-run driver.

Joe McNamara, aged 87, had gone out for a walk on Monday afternoon and was crossing Lowercroft Road, Bury, when he was struck by a red saloon car.

The vehicle initially stopped for a moment, but was driven off, leaving the former sailor for dead. Mr McNamara suffered severe head injuries, fractures to his right arm and left leg, and serious internal injuries.

Mr McNamara, of Brammay Drive, is in the high dependency unit at Fairfield General Hospital. Police immediately launched a public appeal to trace the driver of the car which failed to stop at the scene. Yesterday afternoon, a 76-year-old Bury woman was arrested. A car has also been seized for forensic examination.

Mr McNamara's wife, Laura, has been keeping vigil by her husband's bedside since the incident.

She said: "How a driver can knock down someone, stop for a few minutes and then drive away without helping, is despicable. You would not leave an animal to suffer, let alone an elderly man who was doing no one any harm.

"Joe is a fighter, a battler and I pray he will recover. He is in so much pain. All I can do is remain hopeful."

Mr McNamara, a grandfather, is Bury born and bred and attended St Joseph's School.

In 1940 he enlisted in the Royal Navy and served throughout the Second World War as an able seaman. He was in action during the liberation of Malta and served on two ships torpedoed by German U-boats. He was mentioned in dispatches for his brave actions when HMS Partridge was attacked and he helped several of his shipmates escape the burning vessel.

After the war, the father-of-three worked in Bury Corporation's highways department and then at Transparent Paper until he retired due to ill health in 1979.

The widower met Laura, his second wife, in 1981 and married a year later. The couple celebrated their silver wedding anniversary on December 2.

Mrs McNamara, a retired nurse, said: "Joe is registered blind, with limited peripheral vision, and registered deaf. However, he is a determined character and he never lets these conditions stop him living an independent and full life."

Two years ago he became a member of the St Dusters, a national UK charity established in 1915 by Sir Arthur Pearson to provide an independent future for blind ex-servicemen and women, and last Christmas he was reunited with ex-sailor George King who served with him on HMS Crispin 66 years ago.

Mrs McNamara added: "Last weekend we spent the weekend with George and his family. He and Joe were talking about the old times. Joe is proud of his war service.

"Every year on Remembrance Day he wears his campaign medals and, when the Last Post is sounded, he cries in memory of those men who never came home.

"Joe is a lovely man who does not deserve what has happened to him. I hope his sheer determination will help him pull through. Our friends have been very supportive."

Police are still keen to hear from witnesses to the collision which happened at 4.40pm. Anyone with information is asked to call traffic officers on (0161) 856 3572.

I've seen Joe at the Cenotaph a few times, a truly lovely guy. Get well soon, mate.

So sad. A very brave man and I hope he makes a full recovery so he is able to take his place at the Cenotaph to remember his fallen comrades once again.

Pity about referring to St Dunstans as 'St Dusters' though.