A paralysed resident of a local nursing home, Graham Clark, tragically passed away on Tuesday when his wheelchair fell into a canal located near a walkway just outside Canal Walk Shopping Centre.
Clark is the former Marion Island team leader and had been a resident of the Eric Miles Cheshire Home in Milnerton for 33 years following a stroke in 1982 that caused him to become paralysed from the mouth down.
Alet Bosman, the home’s general manager, told IOL that Clark was feeding ducks at the canal with his long-time caregiver, Lesley, and asked Lesley to fetch WeetBix for the ducks from the parked van that they had gone to the mall in. The caregiver left for a few moments to retrieve the Weetbix as requested when he heard a splash and rushed to see what had happened.
He immediately dove into the water to help Mr. Clark and was unable to unstrap him from his wheelchair to pull him from the canal. He eventually managed to pull Clark still strapped in the wheelchair from the canal, however efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
Lesley received trauma counselling after the tragedy and Bosman has commended the caregiver for “adding value” to Clarke’s life.
The Eric Miles Cheshire Home said in a post on Facebook, “We are all so saddened about this. Rest in Peace Graham Clarke. You will be missed.”
Hundreds of sorrow-filled messages poured in for Clark, who was loved and will be remembered by many.
Katie Pereira Kotze posted, “Really very sorry to hear this, our family has known Graham Clarke for about 30 years. What an inspiring person who shared so much positivity with others. May he Rest in Peace. Thank you for sharing this with us so that we can remember Graham during this very sad time xxxx.”
Wendy de Freitas posted, “RIP Graham condolence to family a brilliant mind and one of the most positive people I have known is gone so sad.”