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Tributes paid to well-known Wolverhampton driving instructor who helped generations take to the roads

A driving instructor who helped hundreds of people hit the roads has passed away, with his son-in-law aiming to raise thousands of pounds for a charity close to their hearts.

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William Hickman, known as Bill, died on December 2

William Hickman, known as Bill, died on December 2 aged 82.

Mr Hickman, who lived in Wednesfield for more than 50 years, had been a driving instructor in the area for almost 40 years. He began his career in August 1964 and continued until he was 69 in March 2004.

Later in life, he suffered from Parkinson's Disease and died following a fall and subsequent chest infection. He died in New Cross Hospital.

William 'Bill' Hickman and his wife Emily 'Pem' Hickman on their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 2014.

Wife Emily Hickman, aged 83, known as 'Pem' said: "During the time he was in hospital, so many of the nurses came up to us to say that Bill had taught them to drive.

"And since he's passed, my daughter has had dozens of messages from entire families that Bill helped to pass their test.

"It's comforting really to know that he touched so many people's lives and taught them all.

"He must have been good at his job because we never had to advertise, he just got work through people's recommendations."

Emily 'Pem' Hickman, wife of Bill, and son-in-law Mat Lilley who is raising money for Parkinson's UK.

Emily and Bill married in 1964 and just five weeks after getting hitched, Bill began his driving instructor career. His wife helped him with the bookings.

They went on to have four children, Stephen, Chris, Alison and Glenn.

Bill leaves behind his four children as well as four grandchildren.

Mrs Hickman added: "He was a very strong-willed person. There was nothing he couldn't do. He was very handy to have around doing all the DIY in the home and that. Well, sometimes he was handy, until he did something you didn't want doing!

"He was a jokey person too, he would have a good laugh with the pupils he taught and would often make little jokes to test if they were listening!"

William 'Bill' Hickman.

Now, Mr Hickman's son-in-law Mat Lilley, of Perton, is aiming to raise as much money as he can for charity Parkinson's UK.

Already, the family have raised more than £2,000 over the years for the charity, with hundreds of additional pounds raised following the death of Mr Hickman.

A JustGiving page set up in Mr Hickman's memory has raised £520.

William 'Bill' Hickman.

A statement on the page said: "On December 2 2017, my father-in-law Bill Hickman was taken away from us as a result of a chest infection. He had suffered for many years from Parkinson's disease. He was a strong, hardworking man who was at the centre of his devoted family.

"The devastation that Parkinson's disease brought upon him was terrible to see with symptoms that include dementia, tremors, inability to swallow, difficulty in physical movement/coordination that were a result of the disease attacking his brain and nervous system.

"There is limited funding to help identify a cure, so the sorrow will carry on unless organisations like Parkinson's UK can continue with their research. To help the fight against Parkinson's you can help by contributing a donation to Parkinson's UK who are looking to find a cure while providing support to those who are affected.

"All contributions will be welcomed by the charity.

"Thank you in advance for your consideration and any donations that you contribute."

William 'Bill' Hickman aged 18.

Mr Hickman's funeral is due to take place on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 1.30pm at Bushbury Cemetery and Crematorium based on Underhill Lane.

The family are accepting flowers if offered but would also like donations to be made to Parkinson's UK.

For more information, or to donate, visit