Yorkshire family's touching tribute to honour loving family man killed in crash

An unexpected kindness has been gifted to a Yorkshire family as they honour the loss of a loving stepfather, with strangers stepping in to help along the way.

Lauren and Tracy Gregory, who over the course of 10 years have raised more than 60,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance after the loss of Mick Cottam in a motorcycle accident.

Michael Cottam, from Wakefield, was killed in a motorcycle crash a decade ago, with his family having since raised over £60,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

But as his step-daughter Lauren Gregory prepares for a 100 mile walk in his memory, not a single bed and breakfast or hotel owner will let them pay their way.

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One guesthouse owner, deeply moved by the family's tribute, has gone as far as to offer them their own spare room.

Michael (Mick) Cottam was a keen motorcyclist who died in a crash on his way home to Ossett from Whitby in 2010.

"We couldn't believe it," said Miss Gregory, 22. "It's unbelievable, people's generosity. Everybody has been impossible lovely."

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Mr Cottam, known as Mick, was 46 when he was killed in September 2010. A keen motorcyclist, he had been on his way home after a day trip to Whitby with a friend.

Miss Gregory, 13 at the time, and her mother Tracy, now, 48, had been absolutely devastated by his loss, but over time have found some solace in charity fundraising.

Michael (Mick) Cottam was a keen motorcyclist who died in a crash on his way home to Ossett from Whitby in 2010 at the age of 46.

Since 2010, the family and Mr Cottam's friends have raised over £60,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, the charity they felt was closest to the cause.

"He loved going out on the bike, it was more than a hobby," said Miss Gregory. "He would get home from work, and just get out and go.

"Raising money for the charity was something we all put our minds to, it helped to have something to think about and act on.

"It doesn't get easier over time, but you learn to live with it. We always said we didn't want to sit and mourn, we wanted to celebrate his life."

Mick Cottam with partner Tracy Gregory and stepdaughter Lauren before his death in 2010.

Mr Cottam, who had been like a father to Miss Gregory, had met her mother while the two worked together at fire protection company Chubb.

A 'lovely, friendly' person

"He got on with everybody," said Miss Gregory. "He wasn't one to walk into a room and be the life and soul, but once you got to know him he was really funny.

"He loved being around his family and friends. He was just a really lovely, friendly person. He took me on as his own, which was a massive thing to do."

Lauren Gregory is to undertake a 100 mile charity walk with friends in April to raise funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance after the loss of her stepfather Mick Cottam.

Miss Gregory, with school friend Saskia Whiting, 22, and family friend Sally-Anne Wilson, 48, is to set off on a 100 mile hike from Ossett to Whitby on April 21.

The charity challenge, as well as being out of their comfort zone, holds a special meaning to them in honouring the man to whom Whitby was so special.

"It's more or less 100 miles from Whitby to home, I just knew it was right," said Miss Gregory, who works in customer service for HSBC.

"It was where Mick was coming from, on his way home that day. We scattered his ashes there. It was his favourite seaside destination. It just felt right.

"The end result is all I'm thinking of. We can walk, though we know it's going to be hard. We will get there."

Charity fundraising

Mick Cottam and Tracy Gregory, pictured in happier times before he died in a motorcycle crash in 2010.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance attends an average of five incidents a day in the region, taking 364 people to hospital for emergency treatment in 2019.

The charity needs to raise £12,000 every single day to keep its two helicopters in the air, the equivalent of £4.4m a year.

The family is hoping to raise £20,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance this year, through the 100 mile walk and a charity evening organised by Tracy Gregory.

Along the way, four different B&Bs, hotels, and a glamping site have offered them a bed for the night for free, with one owner offering their own spare room.

To find out more visit their JustGiving page, searching Wakefield to Whitby.