Wife pays touching tribute as Zeke dies in freak fall just days after devastating cancer diagnosis

The wife of a grandad who died in a freak fall has spoken of her heartache at losing her teenage sweetheart.

Avid biker Zeke Balfour, 58, was found dead by his son John, 32, after falling from a ladder while dismantling a farm building in Brechin.

His death came just days after he was given the shattering news that following a period in remission, his cancer had returned.

Zeke, from Douglas, was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cancer of the saliva gland in April 2016.

Zeke Balfour

His wife Pamela spoke of her family’s devastation.

She said: “John had to go to get a ladder and when he came back he found his dad lying on the ground. After everything Zeke has been through, he died from such a tragic accident.”

Zeke was born and raised in Douglas and went to St Saviour’s RC High School.

A lover of motorbikes from a young age, he opened Balfour’s Bike Breakers in Perrie Street, Lochee, when he was 19.

He first met Pamela in 1981, but his plans to impress her didn’t exactly go to plan.

She said: “We just got talking and he offered to take me out on his motorbike, much to my mother and father’s disgust.

“We actually had a smash and I ended up in hospital so that was quite a way to meet someone.”

Zeke Balfour, who was found dead by his son after falling from a ladder while dismantling a farm building in Brechin.

Zeke gained a stellar reputation in the city and beyond for his knowledge of and passion for motorbikes. But in 2000, he shut his shop to take his family on an adventure of a lifetime after being inspired by a documentary.

The family sold their home and bought a campervan, spending more than a year travelling through France and Portugal before settling for a period in Murcia, Spain, where Zeke founded an international removals company.

Zeke restarted his bike breakers when they returned to Douglas.

But, in April 2016, he began to suffer a decline in his health.

Pamela said: “He started to get a lump on his face and he thought it was toothache at first.

“We found out it was non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cancer of the saliva gland.

“He needed an operation and was in theatre for eight and a half hours. He had to undergo three surgeries.

“He became very ill and we just thought that was going to be it. Then in March last year he went into remission.

“Five week later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was operated on really quickly and they managed to remove it all. I had radiotherapy every day for four weeks and thankfully I was given the all clear.

“I started to notice some changes in Zeke earlier this year – he was needing to drink more.

“He had a full body scan and the doctor said the cancer had returned. That whole time was just absolutely heartbreaking for all of us.”

As well as his family, Zeke’s biggest passion was motorbikes. He owned several vintage bikes and the family hope a procession of bikers will lead out his hearse.

Pamela said it was Zeke’s kindness and generosity that made him a much-loved figure.

She added: “He was just a very loving grandad. Just the best husband, dad, son and best pal, everything. They broke the mould with him.

“He treated every person the same. Zeke was a shrewd businessman but he would always go out of his way to help anyone.”

Zeke is survived by his children John, Samantha, 32, and Taylor, 20, as well as grandchildren Jayden, 9, seven-year-old Macie, Jamie, 4, and 10-month-old Rory.